Monday, December 3, 2012

November 2012 Status Report

Yay! A new income stream finally opened up. 30x500 is proceeding in full speed too.

Passive income: $15

I've got the first affiliate sale from my SiteBuildIt! site.

I have been waiting this for several months already. I've had problems getting quality back-links to my site. There just doesn't seem to be quality sites about this subject and I could not come up with related sites either. I have managed to crank up at least one article that people really like and I've gotten some natural back-links to it. Now I have 3 articles that rank into first two pages in several search engines. It's a start, but I'd still need a lot more traffic.

I can see from the statistics that people are going through my Call-To-Action as I intended, but most of them are coming through direct links. They come from sites where lots of people already own the product that I recommend.

I also got some income from Adsense and AdFly.    

Costs: $30

The costs include just the SiteBuildIt! monthly payment. So even though I've got a sale, I'm still negative what comes to SBI.

I've been thinking whether I should move my site elsewhere to save in the costs. I'm almost done with the lessons and beyond that I'll just get hosting, statistics and tools.

I'm not too happy with the tools and the templates, they seem pretty outdated and clumsy to me. But, they provide features I would otherwise need to use several tools for. Hosting is really trouble-free and does not have any limits. Also, I like the statistics they provide. The information is in much nicer format than I can get from Google Analytics.

In any case, I feel SBI course is worth more than I've yet paid in so I'm not in a hurry with the possible move.


I can honestly say that getting into 30x500 is the best thing I've done since resigning. Not only is it teaching a process for creating predictable success, it does its best to ensure that people are really learning it.

Plus, I think it has actually already saved its price. How? By telling me that the product idea I was going to implement was targeted to a niche that I cannot reach online. Or more accurately, when they are online they are not interested in hearing about products that would ease up their (offline) business.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Retrospective Autumn 2012

I claimed failure in my October status report. It is time for retrospective.

I have 18 people in my Other Stream Creators blog list. 14 of them are past their deadlines. How are they doing?

Successes (or nearly successes) 

Passive Incoming is almost at her $800 per month goal. She has no deadline date. Her last reported month was nearly $700. She writes small eBooks that she sells at Amazon. As she did not have any previous work to build on, this is an amazing result.

Melissa Rachel Black reached her $50 per month goal by drawing vector illustrations. In addition, she has a new source of active income by drawing commission illustrations.

Pierre Bastien did not reach his original $300 goal and reported that as a failure. I still wanted to list him here, since he got over $150 in September. That is a reasonable bunch of cash - definitely worth mentioning.

Also, Pierre was the only "failed"-reporter that I could find!

What About Everyone Else? 

The other 11 people have not written any reports that I could easily find. I assume those people just did not make it and did not bother to report it. Some of them have stopped blogging altogether. One of them has even removed the blog post where his goal was published.

So, Why Did I Fail?

At first, I went through a set of "make believe explanations" in my head. I would have probably continued to believe in them, but then came the time to write this report.

I did not really fail because:
  • I was out of alignment with my goal 
  • My goal was not phrased in the most motivating way 
  • I chose a slow way to make passive income 
  • I did not work from my strengths 
  • I had no concrete idea how to get to my goal

I failed because I did not provide enough value.

I spent most of my time learning things. The people who succeeded in the challenge were busy publishing valuable stuff. Stuff someone was happy to pay for.

I did publish things... but what is out there is not much. I have about 15 articles in my SBI! site. I have this blog. I planned on creating 2 new passive income streams before Christmas. I have one new stream, and it is *tiny*. The fact that I'm getting at least something tells that my creations are valuable to someone.

Instead of publishing things, I learned things. What I have learned has a huge value to me - but against my goal that work is totally invisible. If I want to reach any monetary goals, I need to start publishing stuff. I need to quiet down my inner self-critic and just do it.

The big question that rises from what I have learned from this passive income challenge is: How do I know (in advance) what people want to buy?

The methods I have learned for finding out niches and evaluating their "profitability" seem to me like first steps to finding an audience to deal with. But my passive-income puzzle is still missing some pieces. I do hope 30x500 delivers them.

In the meantime, I continue to show up.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

October 2012 Status Report

Passive Income In October 2012

I'm getting just a trickle of pennies from AdFly, Adsense and SiteBuildIt!

Costs In October 2012

I'm happy to see the costs coming down. I'm still paying SiteBuildIt! monthly and plan to continue with it. I spent the other $30 to books. I needed those as a study material for my own book.

I can't build a 1000€ passive income stream by Christmas 2012

You may call me an early quitter if you want, but I've stopped believing my current goal is reachable to me. That is my subjective reality. I don't feel like I'd be quitting, I feel like I'm moving on.

Due to the collaborative 30x500 prep work I'm beginning to see where I really stand. When I started this project I thought I knew a lot about passive income. Now I know I knew very little.

My approach has been far from optimal. Actually, my approach was like shooting into the dark, hoping to hit something. Thanks to 30x500 I'm seeing that now and I believe it can be changed. But realizing all the strategic mistakes I've made has eaten up the motivation to work.

I don't want to publish new products with my faulty process. 

So, I've been procrastinating. I've tried to push myself to work on my project, but the motivation is gone. I'm going to quit procrastinating now and give myself a permission to NOT work on this project.

I've written over 20 pages for my book, but publishing it does not seem like a smart thing to do. Not now.

I have been mulling over this a lot. On the other hand I feel I should "just do it", but from my new viewpoint I'd be publishing a dead baby. Everything is an experience, but nothing happens without a motivation.

What next?

I still love SiteBuildIt! and my blogs - I'm not going to abandon them. I'm going to continue the pursuit for increasing my passive income - even though this project has made me realize that building passive income takes a lot of work.

30x500 starts next week and I'm targeting to be the next star student.

I'll be updating the stats until the old goal is due and then I'll put up a new goal. For now, just studying and doing 30x500 is enough. Of course I'd love to start increasing my income right away, but there is some learning to do first.

I'll also continue with SiteBuildIt. I kinda see SBI! compatible with 30x500 base ideology. In it you just don't go to the "Customer Safari" to search for your audience. Instead, you'll express your own worldview and attract a compatible audience over the first year or two. No wonder it takes time to earn with that approach! Yet, the approach is solid and the course is really useful. My traffic is in solid increase and I enjoy having the site. I'm still at day 8. Two more to go!

I'll continue posting on the topics of passive income and product building as I stumble to interesting things. Thanks for helping me with this project!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Lessons From Mr. Perfect Habits

photo by austinevan
30x500 officially starts in November, but we are already getting homework. Last week, we registered into free Tiny Habits program by BJ Fogg. If you don't know what 30x500 is, please take a look at my brand new Resources page!

Tiny Habits is a method for installing new habits. New group start every week and you get to pick 3 new tiny habits you want to install - on any area of life you want to improve.

I chose the following tiny habits last week:

  • After I switch on PC, I'll draw one quick sketch
  • After I start email app, I'll stretch one part of my body briefly
  • After I put my head to the pillow, I will say one thing I'm grateful of

Why Should You Be Interested?

As Amy explained it, studies tell that 40% of the things we do daily are habits. We do what we have always done, like little rats. Do what you have always done and you'll get what you have always got. To create a new income stream or a product, you'll need to install a habit of working on it.

Installing new habits is fun and benefits you on many levels. Better yet, changes can be applied to all areas of life.

However, I was super excited about tiny habits for another reason. It seems that tiny habits formalizes one of the organizing methods my husband uses.

How I Learned To Be Organized

I grew up in an entrepreneur family with chaotic habits. While it was an inspiring environment for a kid, it had downsides. Everything revolved around work and anything personal would come second, often a distant second. When I moved away to live on my own, my apartment was a mess - I had no habits to keep it organized. Bigger problem is that as long as your home is a mess, it takes away from your energy to learn other good habits. My disorganization stretched to almost all areas of life - except getting my work and studies done.

Then I married Mr. Perfect Habits. Step by step he started to teach me little methods to organize my life better. Today we have relatively organized home and lifestyle, yet we use very little effort maintaining it.

Today I'm going to share couple of organizing methods I have learned from him. These methods are stupidly simple, yet very effective! You'll read them and go: "Oh.. why didn't I think of that!"

Lessons From Mr. Perfect Habits

The main idea in all these methods is to make things easier in a way that is natural to yourself. Instead of learning someone else's process of organizing their lives, you'll be creating your own as you go.

If you know these methods already, you may laugh at this post - this is all so trivial. Feel free to laugh. After seeing the Tiny Habits program I realized there are plenty of people like me. People whose parents never taught them these things.

Trigger Habits (aka. Tiny Habits)

Trigger habits help you to install shiny good habits.

When you do something you already do by habit, you use it as a reminder to trigger your new habit.

Examples of trigger habits:

  • After I finish eating, I'll wipe the kitchen table 
  • After I switch on my computer, I'll check my TO-DO list

I really recommend you try out the Tiny Habits program. It explains the method well and it formulates a superb way to create triggers in a way that you'll really end up doing your new habits.

Trigger Items/Places

Trigger items remind you to perform tasks that are rarely needed.

Trigger items work on the premise that all household items have their "home location". Whenever you use anything, you'll return it where it belongs. When you leave something to a place other than its home location, it works as your trigger.

Example of trigger item:

  • An empty toilet paper shell on the corridor chair means I need to buy more toilet paper
  • A bill on the keyboard means I should pay that bill

When the trigger item has done it's duty, I'll trash it or take it back to its place, depending on the case.

Trigger Containers

Trigger Containers prevent things piling up.

Trigger container is a basket, shelf or some other container of a space equal to the size of the task to be performed. When you have items that need further processing, you use the container to hold them until you have enough of them to perform a task.

Example of trigger containers:
I have a small container for the unread magazines. When I get a new magazine, I'll put it in the unread magazines container. Whenever I read one, I'll move it to another container - the container for magazines to be trashed. Or when dealing with books, to the bookshelf. 

If the unread magazines container fills up, it is a sign you clearly don't have time to read them all! When the read magazines container fills up, it works as a trigger to take them away.

This works wonderfully for tasks like dishes and laundry. With laundry we have several containers, one for each washing program that we use. At first it took me some time to learn to empty the pockets and close the zippers already when putting the clothes to the laundry baskets. I was used to doing that when putting the clothes to the machine. But now when I am used to trigger containers, I just love them - they make the house so much more cleaner and tasks easier.

How To Make Triggers Work

In order for the triggers to work, you need to make things easy for yourself. Try to place items near to where they are used and make them easily available. Be smart. Organize triggers so that they make sense to you and support your existing habits.

Not all of the habits are going to stick. But that just means you have picked poor triggers or try to place new habits where they don't come naturally.

Couple of years ago I tried to install a new habit of doing chin-ups before going out the house. That didn't work, even though I placed the chin-up bar right next the front door. When I'm leaving the house, starting to exercise is the last thing I'm interested in. In a way, the trigger happened inside another action and I ended up not doing it.

I also have several habits I have installed successfully, but then dropped them after a vacation or some other break. That just means they were not a logical enough sequence of habits to continue.

When that happens, I often just change things a bit. Doing chin-ups is perfect match for switching on electric sauna, for example.

Just try it out and see how it works for you!

Monday, October 1, 2012

September Status Report (Week 20)

Time for the monthly report!

Passive Income In September 2012 

 Oops. I did not get anything from SiteBuildIt! this month and it looks like my passive income went back to what it was before. Adsense and AdFly helped me to get at least something.

I did get an Amazon affiliate sale from my SiteBuildIt! site, but it was an item that was delivered by external seller - so I guess I don't get any pennies from that. But that is a beginning... It is my first affiliate sale from that site. I wish I'll soon get sales for my main product that has higher commissions.

Costs In September 2012 

Costs include my last payment to Getting Rich With eBooks 3.0. I spent $400 dollars in it, but somehow my book is not out yet.

Costs also include my monthly payment to SiteBuildIt!.

I did not include $2.450 for 30x500. Why? Because it was not paid from the project budget and it starts at November, too late to bring in anything before Christmas. I'll keep it separately in the status page.

Time Is Getting Short

After I got back from my vacation, I have been working on trying to get back-links to my SiteBuildIt! site. It has been more tricky than I expected. I'm also adding content to the site all the time. I have a nice trickle of traffic going on there, but I need more.

I think that site has potential to earn me 1.000 € per month, but I'd need some kind of a traffic miracle to get it by Christmas.

The travel book that I planned is going to get delayed. We decided to write it together with my husband later on.

I have another book idea that is connected to my SiteBuildIt! site. I'm going to roll that out, hoping it will sell AND bring traffic to my SiteBuildIt! site. If the book breaks through, I have some chance of getting to my goal.

I'm not going to stress about it. Money is important, but I'm building a business here. I am still confident that I'll reach my monetary goal - eventually.

I have already broken the SiteBuildIt! rules on monetizing, with hopes that I'd get some pennies from my site earlier. I hope that was not a bad decision. But in general I'm trying to not let the upcoming deadline affect my decisions on what I should do. I want to create quality content.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Yay! I'm In 30x500!

Yes, I'm one of the 75 students in the winter 2012 30x500 course.

What Is 30x500?

30x500 is a four-month "product creation" course by Amy Hoy, the creator of Freckle and Charm. "Product creation", because you don't exit the course with a ready made product.

Instead, you're going to learn (in addition to other things):

  • how to have only profitable ideas
  • how to secure customers for your product before you ever commit a line of code, or write a single page
  • how to build a product by yourself, without making yourself miserable
  • how to find your customers
  • how to get your customers to come to you
  • how to write sales copy so your customers will listen — with no previous copywriting experience
  • how to launch your product to immediate sales

This course has propelled several success stories, including Bootstrapping Design and Planscope, actually, Planscope twice.

Why I Chose 30x500?

For 13 years I was a designer and developer in a large multinational company. I worked in research and development. That means we made brand new products. Most of those projects failed in a way or another.

At least two times in my career we worked for over two years to create a product that was discontinued almost immediately when it came out. I loved both of those products but they just didn't sell well enough.

Looking back, I can't name any telltale sign of a product that's going to fail. The failing products are not always bad products... And there are some awful products that just thrive.

The only common nominator to all failing products is that they don't sell well enough. I think this course offers an unique viewpoint to that program - getting the customers first.

I want to create my own SaaS-application. And I want to be successful. I don't want to bury another product.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

American Tourist, Are You Being Impolite?

This is continuation from Traveling Beliefs: Human Unity and Hospitality. This is the third and the last part of the European Travel Series. After this one I'll get back to passive income topics.

The content of this article is based on my observations and if you represent some of the nationalities mentioned here and you feel that I misinterpreted your culture, let me know.

As you travel, you may find yourself getting a cold welcome from the locals in some countries. It could it be that you do something wrong?

Should You Learn New Languages?

Some guides suggest that you learn a bit of local language. Whether or not that affects your travel experience depends on the country.

I almost always try to do that if I spend more than 3 nights at some country. Being able to say at least "hello", "please" and "thank you" is nice.

You don't do that to survive. It is a mean to make your host feel more appreciated and thus treat you better. In addition, it helps you to connect with the local people and learn more about their culture.

For Scandinavian countries, you don't need to do that. Most people speak English just fine and they are not bothered that you don't know their language. You don't earn extra cookie points by learning to say "hello" and "thank you". You do get an extra smile, but that's about it.

For East-European countries it is not necessary either. People there don't speak English as commonly as Scandinavians, but those who do are happy to practise their skills. They don't really expect you to know their language. So no cookie points here either. Besides, those languages are so damn hard that you'd have problems pronounce them anyway. Try "köszönöm" or "dziekuje" (Ukranian and Polish for thank you).

On the other hand, in the real "old-world" countries just learning some language is not enough. You also need to learn some social customs.

Being You, You Are Being Impolite

People in France, Italy and Spain are polite and formal. If you talk to them like you are used to, you are being rude from the start.

Most people forgive this for tourists, the French being the exception. Spanish and Italian are easy-going enough not to mention it to you - but it affects how they treat you. In general, people are surprisingly nice for rude tourists.

Anyway, learning to be polite when you speak does earn you cookie points in these countries.

The problem is, you cannot use the polite language forms as English does not have them! And even if you know the local language, it is sometimes more safe to speak English if you have problems with the polite forms. Especially in France, where you find people addressing even their lovers with the formal pronouns.

But there is something you can do.

Learn To Greet People Correctly

Learn to greet people politely and they'll treat you decently - even in France.

The magic words are the ones added after "Hello".
Instead of saying just "Hello", you'd say "Hello, madam".
If I would know you better, you'd go "Hello, Jaana" - except if I was older than you or we had a business relationship.
In that case you'd say "Hello, madam Kulmala".

I know it sounds stupid, but it pays off.

Bonjour monsieur. Buongiorno signor. Buenos dias senor.

You might get fooled by listening to the local people. You'll be most probably listening to situations where people already know each other, thus using mostly names and omitting titles. Also, in all of these countries younger people are more relaxed with the language.

I should mention that Germans are super-polite and formal too, but the stuff is baked even deeper into the language. They have a lot of titles, but they are not often used in greetings, so you don't have a similar problem there unless you try to speak German.

Another thing to mention is that all these countries love handshaking. So when you have a chance, offer your hand!

If you got interested, here is a nice article of polite social customs in France. The greetings are just for survival.

You Are Weird Anyway

Sorry to disappoint you, but even if you do the greetings right, you'll be still behaving weirdly by the local standards.

You'll want food at strange times. You'll order wrong type of coffee and then complain that you don't like it. You don't take your shoes off when you come in. You don't look people in the eyes when you should - and you do that when you shouldn't. You don't follow the "Alles Verboten" signs or do something obscene.

In short, local people expect something from you - and you just cannot deliver.

And if you love personal growth, you'll enjoy every moment. I especially love the moments when I realize that something that I previously thought was part of my personality is just a learned social habit. I also enjoy encountering habits that would not be allowed in my culture but are perfectly fine somewhere else.

I wish you happy travels!

Lots of problems and anxiety with traveling is caused by people have too little time. For most people, the lack of time is a direct consequence for being an employee to someone. The solution? Let's get some passive income!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Traveling Beliefs: Human Unity and Hospitality

We are all the same when you dig deep enough.
You depend on the local network of people and their resources when traveling.
Most people are honest, helpful, friendly and hospitable. 
People care for each other. 
The world will provide you what you need.

So relax and enjoy the ride.

How do the above beliefs show in your actions?

You don't have to bring everything with you

You know, we have shops selling clothes, shampoo and nailpolish here. We do laundry too. Do bring your presciption medicine.

I do carry my pink mini-laptop on my every trip. Its nice for working, checking weather reports and doing hotel reservations for the rainy days.
The best free site to see weather in European countries is Norway's weather service

You don't have to read the travel guides beforehand

Locals have the best knowledge of the best places anyway, just trust them. Lots of great places are not listed in guides. For example, most guides of Italy miss the holy mountains in the north. People go to Asia for mountain retreats while we have great places for meditation and working right here. In both cases you'll be budget bunking in spectacular places.

I used to read Lonely Planet guides. But doing that was a chore! And then when I was traveling, I found myself in a queue with others carrying the same book. Often the best things have nothing to do with sights listed in guides - like learning new skills from local experts. Or seeing local plays or concerts. Meeting local people.

Also, in many European countries tourist offices have excellent services. If you have not made a schedule too tight, you'll have time to read their condensed brochures in some place nice.

You don't have to book everything beforehand

It is quite easy to find a place to stay on the fly. Having pre-made reservations just forces you to follow some pre-made plan.

Of course, if you want to go to some specific event and that is important to you, do make the reservations beforehand. But for general travel, it is not needed. Also, you may well find more interesting places to stay and they are often much cheaper than you'd find online.

We have not made any reservations for a long time. Based on our experience, we have not been able to stay where we wanted only 1% of the time. In those few cases we have tried to get an accommodation on the fly during some major local event. What happened then? We just continued to another town.

There is something to see everywhere

Where there are people, there is something to see and learn.

You don't have to carry everything all the time

Just trust the locals - and smile (they may be afraid of you). Check out what locals do in general and then follow the example.

In most European countries we feel quite safe leaving most of our stuff to the "hotel". Smaller the place, more you can trust them. Not needing to carry everything makes it so much easier to go around. Admittedly, we are minimalists and don't carry much luggage anyway. There isn't much to rob from us - and we always judge the situation case by case.

To this day, we have not been robbed. If we get too trusty, the locals will warn us. Just a couple of days ago we were approached by an Italian gentleman who told us that we were fine leaving our motorcycle helmets laying on the bike in their town. But he warned us that the bigger cities are full of immigrants who will not hesitate to steal our stuff. Lovely. We took the advice.

You'll entertain the locals with your act

Remember how we all are the same? You may not feel like that when you travel. But keep your mind open. You'll soon see how much of your beliefs of what is proper behaviour is just that - beliefs.

As you often don't know how to behave "normally" in the target culture, the best thing is to laugh at it (unless you really hurt someone with your behaviour). Let the locals have their fun on your account.

Above the friendly common core, people come in all flavors. Some cultures you'll connect immediately with, some not. For an American coming to Scandinavia, I'd assume the behaviour there feels cold to him. It always depends on what you expect.

Like, coming from Finland, I don't expect parents to kiss their children to the mouth. It took me by a surprise when I saw that first time. But in general, Europe is lame on that account. You'll not find old ladies munching on their grandson's genitals. (The Fearful Adventurer is a lovely blog, check it out)  

When I go to Germany from Finland, germans feel overly friendly and polite. When I go to Germany after staying in Italy, germans feel tacky and remote. Always when I go to Poland, it feels like home - no extra superficial smiles wasted ;)

Does the above sound awkward?

Do you feel that you could not enjoy traveling like that? No problem. There are no requirements here. Pick the stuff that you feel comfortable with.

The above beliefs are just what I've found compatible with traveling. You are free to sport your own.

This is Part II of the Travel Series, you might also want to read the Part I.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

How To Get Banned By Google And Amazon

Yes. I've got my lily white newbie butt kicked by the big boys. I've got both my Blogger site banned from AdSense and my Amazon AskVille account suspended.

After making a ton of changes and appealing twice, I've finally got the AdSense ban lifted by Google. But as far as I know, there is no way I can appeal in AskVille, so I guess I can say goodbye to my account there.

Here are my tips on how to get yourself into trouble:

Violate Google's Strict Content Limits

It is obvious that you are not allowed to show ads in pages that contain adult content. But it depends on culture what is considered appropriate and what not.

Google's generic guideline is that you may put ads to every page that you could easily show to your colleagues or your kids.

As an ex-dancer it never occurred to me that dance and clubbing costumes could be considered bad... If I had kids, I'd be happy to show them samba-wear and leather clothing. Sure, those clothes are sexy and sometimes revealing, but I don't think they are obscene unless presented that way.

Well, Google disagrees. I do understand that. They are probably selling ads to countries where women still have to cover their hair.

So you have to be very careful about your site content if you want to have ads there. Don't think what you could show to your colleagues and kids. Think of the most conservative person you know. Now think what he could easily show to his grandmother!

I think this is quite obvious. It just never occurred to me that I should judge my content by world-wide standards. Sure, I can do that, but I do have to pay attention. In the future I will.

An interesting detail here is that the page that got me banned has been online almost a year now. But last month I noticed from my stats that a lot of people came to that page looking to buy some clubbing wear. As the pics were a digital remake of real-world clothing, I added an affiliate link to the page. The affiliate shop sells fetish clothing - including pieces that you really cannot show to your kids. And right after that I got banned. I cannot but assume the affiliate link had something to do with this ban...

Advertize Your Site In Amazon AskVille

I was pointed to AskVille by SBI search tool. It shows that my competitor site has plenty of backlinks there. I looked at those entries and thought: "Gee! That is an easy way to get people to notice me. I can do just what they have done!" But I soon found out I could not.

I gave a clear and valuable answer to a recent question and pointed people to my new site for more information. I got my account banned after my very first answer. The reason was advertising and my account is totally banned for undeterminate time.

I should have read their rules instead of assuming that I can do what others have done.

Did I report my competitor to Amazon? No, I didn't. If they got links in, good for them. The links were part of real answers, just like mine. I don't want those answers get removed.

I did get a bit mad when I found out that I cannot appeal. The mail I got gives a link to a page where I am supposed to do that, but I cannot access it without a valid account. Creating a duplicate account to appeal would violate their rules too.

That's too bad and I'm angry for that. It was my very first answer/mistake and they did not give me any warnings or anything. Hardly fair, I'd say.

The good thing is that my regular Amazon account does not seem to be directly connected to this AskVille thingy. So I hope I'm not blacklisted anywhere else now...

Stupid Mistakes, Valuable Lessons

I got the bans for not reading the small print carefully enough. Just plain stupid mistakes!

You are allowed to laugh now. Well, I am laughing. I'm also glad I've got the lessons now when I don't have much to lose yet.

In any case, I felt miserable getting banned. Ah, that feeling of not being approved. It hurts.

I've never been banned before. But then, I have not had any affiliate business before. It just seems to me that I now need to work with a stricter set of rules. What has never got me any problems before, is suddenly forbidden behaviour. That's just how it goes.

That's just fine to me. I'll learn.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Travel Series - How To Spend Your Passive Income

I just noticed Steve's tweet about a meetup in Oslo, Norway. I was in Norway this June and we passed Oslo by less than a hundred kilometers, so that hit me. Then I found out that Steve has an interest in traveling. How fun!

I got an instant inspiration to share my travel experience and some things I've learned on the way.

And... I ended up writing a lot, so I just had to split it into several blog posts. I also found myself writing about attitudes and beliefs needed in traveling - a subject I assume Steve don't have much problems with.

Not Your Regular Travel Guide

I'm definitely not going to deliver regular travel tips. You'll find plenty of bible-sized travel guides telling their truth on what to see and where to go.

What everybody likes is so personal!

I feel that sometimes guides and pre-planning distract you from what is important. It makes you concentrate on places instead of people and life.

Yes, you'll be sporting off nice travel photos of places your friends know, but... did you get the experience you came for - or did you just stand in different queues waiting to check out the places?

I don't think this applies for Steve, but lots of people start by doing just that and for a while they'll be happy with that. That's fine. Everything goes.

Even though the first tips article is quite general, I wrote them both from the viewpoint of traveling in Europe.

My Greetings From Piemonte, Italy

I love traveling. I started in my mid-twenties and during the last 10 years I've visited over 30 countries with my husband Kari. In fact, my first eBook is going to be a specialty travel guide. Thanks to Cindy and her tips on eBooks, its going to be out quite soon.

We started with ready-made tours and handicapped by our beliefs. Traveling forces you to grow. That, or you grow to hate traveling.

With time, we found our own traveling style. And we changed. In the last 4-5 years we have been extensively traveling in Europe. No reservations, we just go.

Lately, we have been returning to Italy over and over again. Actually, we are in Piemonte right now. We rode here on our motorcycle, starting from Finland (we stay there most of the year) and going through Sweden, Germany and Switzerland on the way. Below is a picture I snapped yesterday.

Why Italy? Well, we love the food. Also, the people here have a wonderful attitude and they are naturally in line with the beliefs that we want to establish at the moment.

What have beliefs to do with traveling? Well, everything.

Stay tuned for the Part II - Traveling Beliefs: Human Unity and Hospitality.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

August 2012 Status Report (Week 16)

Hi there! I'm still on vacation, but I wanted to give you the August status anyway.

Freckle says I've spent 63 hours on my passive income project in August. That is almost as much as in previous month, even though I've worked only couple of hours during the last 2 weeks.

Passive Income In August 2012:

Income is mostly coming from affiliate sales and AdFly.

This was a happy surprise to me, since my last month's income included a $10 donation. I was also expecting my vacation to show a bit, but it looks like this income really is passive.

Granted, I messed up and accidentally had my own affiliate cookie on when I bought new products for trying them out. I did report that, but they said I can just keep those pennies.

Costs In August 2012:

Costs include the monthly payment to Getting Rich With eBooks 3.0 and SiteBuildIt!

It also includes $100 worth of products that I wanted to test. As said, I messed up with the purchase. I had my own affiliate cookie on. Even though I got to keep the money, I saw that the payment for those products was much lower than the main product. I also did not check the tax limit and ended up paying some taxes, which made the products even more expensive.

I could have easily avoided this cost, but I wanted to try out those products.


Even though my passive income grew again, I also saw the dark side of the project this month.

My SBI site have been up for over a month already and I've not yet earned a penny from it. That was expected as the monetization is not plugged in yet. I've written a handful of nice articles that I'm proud of, but I'm impatient right now. I'd like to monetize, but the next thing to do will be to start getting some backlinks to my site. I hate the tortoise speed of SBI!

I bought $100 worth of products, but I did not like them enough to recommend them. That was really sad, since the main product is excellent. Another downside is that the experience on these products varies from person to person. They were not suitable for me, but someone might still like them a lot. However, as things are, I cannot recommend them myself. So I practically just lost the money to try them out. I could get some of it back though.

I've also got some negative feedback on my project. I've got it from my friends and relatives offline and online, by getting banned. I'll be telling you more about that later. 


Even though I've seen some drawbacks this months, they have all been mental. I'm glad to see that my passive income is still going up.

I've have great fun with my project and I'm not going to stop just because there have been some obstacles in the road.

I'll continue enjoying my vacation about two weeks or so. But after that I'll be back in business!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Is Affiliate Marketing Illegal?

No, affiliate marketing is not illegal. But to my surprise lots of people don't know that.

Showing Off My New Site

I'm pretty proud of my new SiteBuildIt! site. Although I've been blogging for several years, it is my first "real site". The articles are thoroughly thought out, unique and well written. So I have been showing it to my friends and relatives. I was amazed to find out they don't share my feelings.

Is It Legal?

First thing everyone asks is how I'll earn money with my site. When I tell them about affiliate marketing, they all get suspicious and ask if it is legal.

Pyramid Schemes Are Illegal

My friend asked me "is this some kind of pyramid scheme thing?". Those are illegal in plenty of countries.

But SBI and affiliate marketing are not pyramid schemes.

In pyramid scheme you'll have to pay to join in, but you don't receive anything concrete. You'll main job will be to get new recruits and you'll get paid when people join in. That is the whole business, even though some schemes have some "bonus" that is supposed to be paid when a certain amount of people have joined in. Other disguise as multi-level marketing by having some product tangled in.

As the pyramid scheme would require exponential amount of participants, it is destined to crash. The few people in the bottom of the pyramid get rich and the mass of the people joining later will just get cheated.

Multi-level Marketing (MLM) Is Legal

Multi-level marketing is a marketing strategy where you benefit from both your own sales and the sales that your recruits make. You all will be selling a real product and MLM is legal.

The problem is, many pyramid schemes disguise themselves as multi-level marketing. has this excellent table that compares pyramid schemes and MLM. As you can see, it may be sometimes hard to separate a real MLM program from an illegal pyramid scheme.

SiteBuildIt! Is Legal

As said, SBI sites and affiliate marketing are not pyramid schemes. Most of them are not MLM either, as you will only get paid for the products that people buy through your links. You don't earn more if others end up being affiliates themselves.

I do recall that in SBI affiliate program there is a small "second level" payment too, but real MLM programs are several levels deep. Also, getting new affiliates is not the SBI main business. SBI is a course that teaches people to build profitable web businesses. You can buy SBI and never become an affiliate.

Of course, SBI site owners are individuals and nothing prevents them from being fooled joining into a pyramid scheme! So when selecting your affiliate programs, be careful.

Undercover Marketing Is Illegal

My sister asked if my site contains undercover marketing, also called stealth marketing. Undercover marketing is illegal, at least in European Union countries, such as UK and Finland.

But my site does not contain undercover marketing either.

There has been a big buzz on undercover marketing in blogs lately. It seems that bloggers may become guilty of undercover marketing when they write reviews of products that they got for free. If you write a positive review, but do not mention that you did not pay for the product - well, that's undercover marketing.

What, Huh! Are You Serious?

Yes, that's what I thought too. I think that is ridiculous. If you receive a gift, you can opt to write a negative review or decide to skip reviewing the product altogether. Isn't that enough to ensure that the reader does not get cheated? Apparently not.

Most actors and other famous people get most of their clothes from fashion houses yet they are not required to sport "I got my clothes for free"-tag on their forehead. And you are not either - except online.

I do agree that some companies use really nasty stealth marketing techniques. For example, one phone company hired people to flirt in public places. They tried to trick people to try out a certain phone model. The employee flirted with the customer and if they were successful, they asked the customers to enter their phone numbers into their phone. And as they were hired to do that, people never got called.

Anyway, affiliates pay for the products they promote/recommend. So affiliates are not quilty of undercover marketing.

But that did not satisfy my sister. Next she asked if affiliate marketing itself is illegal.

Affiliate Marketing Is Legal

Affiliate marketing is completely legal. You are allowed to promote and recommend products that you like.

Some programs and countries do require that you clearly mention your affiliate status.

I don't see that as a problem, even though that might scare some people who don't know a thing about affiliate programs. They will get suspicious and dismiss your opinions. But doing that they will lose, not you.

There are some rumors going on that some US states have forbidden affiliate programs. But that is not quite true. Those states got greedy and announced Amazon that they want to collect taxes of the affiliate earnings coming to their states. Amazon's answer was to discontinue affiliate programs in those states. Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, North Carolina, Rhode Island and Connecticut are the ones I know of.

While that was Amazon's answer I think the affiliate programs will eventually get taxed. We'll see.

People Are Still Going To Be Suspicious

Even though affiliate marketing is not illegal, people will continue to be suspicious. I think my sister still is!

I told her that if she wants to "fight" affialiate programs, she can start by boycotting the biggest companies offering affiliate programs - Amazon and Ebay.

I don't think my other relatives and friends are going to make it easy either. Whatever I do online, I think my mother-in-law is still going to ask me "do you have any real work yet?" every time I meet her.

PS. I'm officially still on vacation, so no week reports!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Week 13 - Creating Site Content

Here is my Freckle pulse from last week:

That is 25 hours. Most of it was content creation for my new SiteBuildIt! site. The site is up, it looks fine and I'm proud of it.

It does not have much traffic yet, but I am already scoring a tiny stream of visitors from some Google searches.

Creating the articles is great fun, although I think I'm maybe using a bit too much time for them. But I try to create unique articles that give great value to the readers. With SiteBuildIt! it is easy to pick subjects for articles and the tools make sure that the articles really get into the lists when people search for them.

This week I'll start my second vacation for this summer. I'll probably cannot keep my hands off my SiteBuildIt! site content, but you won't be getting updates in this blog.

See you in 4 weeks or so!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Market Samurai Tries To Kill Free Google Keywords Tool

Several people have recommended Market Samurai to me. Of course I was excited to see if I could get all the data I need for keyword research from a single tool. So I checked it out. 

I was sorely disappointed - enough that I have to boycott it.

What Is Wrong With Market Samurai?

When I started up the Market Samurai it asked my Google Adwords account login name and password. I have a major problem with that. 

I don't just give out my credentials to anyone. This software is installed on my PC where it can access web any way it likes.  

Worse, letting someone use my credentials to access Google Adwords API emulating user input violates the usage agreement of Google Adwords. That is a real problem. 

I Don't Want To Mess Up With Google

Traffic from search engines if the lifeblood of passive income business. Messing up with Google is a bad idea. A very bad idea. 

I'd love to say that the internet frees little bootstrapping companies, small businesses and individuals to take power to their own hands... but most of us get the lifeblood from Google and Microsoft, through their search engines. I guess there are some people working through social media who are not dependent on organic traffic. But most are. I surely am.

But... you say... The Google Adwords Keyword Tool is free, how can I violate anything?

Google Adwords Keyword Tool JSON API Is Not Free

Yes the Keyword Tool is free for human use, but the interface that external applications should use is not free. 

In practice Market Samurai is not using the pay interface, so the creator of the program may assure you that everything is fine. But that is like saying, 
"No I'm not trespassing. Yes, I did notice the sign at the gate. But Sir, I did NOT come here through that gate - I came over the fence."

The deal is, programmatic usage should be paid for. I'll bet that is how Google sees it. 

What Google Could Do?

Nowadays it is a common practise that applications and interfaces are opened up for non-commercial use and commercial users must pay. I like that business model as it helps common people to have free tools. 

If I had written and published API as free for non-commercial use and then someone would make a tool like this, I would be pissed off. I would be REALLY pissed off. I probably might consider closing up the free version. Google is a big company so maybe it can find other ways to plug the leak, but the risk is there. 

If offering the free tool makes it possible to bypass the pay-part, and lots of people do that, eventually it is worth closing up the free tool. 

So there is a real risk that eventually Google will consider closing up the Adwords Tool. Or they might opt that you need to have a company to access it, like Microsoft has done with their tool already.

Or, Google could just detect the traffic pattern that Market Samurai creates and ban those accounts. 

It all depends on how big a problem they think this is. 

How SBI Deals With The Same Problem?

SiteBuildIt! uses data from Keywords Tool too. 

To get the data into SBI tool, I first have to export my keyword list from the SBI tool and then log in to the Google Keywords Tool manually. I use the options in Keywords Tool to import my keyword list. When I get the results I'll export them into a file. Then I go back to the SBI tool and import the data there.

It is a bit complicated, but it is legal. 

Of course the same approach would not work for Market Samurai.

What Market Samurai Should Do?

The first thing that came into my mind was:
 "Why don't they just pay for the usage? Why take this risk?"
It just don't make any sense. They take a huge risk - and their customers take a huge risk. Worse, I'll bet most of the customers won't even realize that something is wrong.

Then I realized that the Market Samurai software is sold for a fixed price. It would not be a wise idea to let people pay once and then cause you costs forever. Also, it takes time to reprogram the software to use the gate instead of jumping over the fence.

I think that Market Samurai would need a major face-lift. It should be redone as web service.

It could utilize the "pay per use" subscription model. They could have, for example, a basic subscription with certain amount of searches per month. Then there could be a more pricey pro subscription option with higher amount of searches per month.

Overall, I do like the idea of Market Samurai and I'd love to have a tool like it. 

But the fact is - until the Market Samurai plays fair, I will not be using it.

No, I don't like to write negative posts. This has been laying in the drafts like a month already. But then I realized that not all people know that Adwords API is a pay interface. So if I can help people by providing this information, maybe it is worth it.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

450% Increase In My Passive Income! (July 2012)

This was an amazing month. I'm now proceeding full speed and really enjoying the process. I've been smiling more than ever and I'm having great fun.

This months Freckle pulse says that I spent 71 hours on my passive income project.

Passive Income In July 2012:

Income is coming from AdFly, affiliate sales and a donation.

Costs In July 2012:

Costs include the monthly payment to Getting Rich With eBooks 3.0 and SiteBuildIt!
They also include one new domain name, reserved for one of my Blogger blogs.


  • Two new passive income sources opened
  • I joined SiteBuildIt!
  • Finding my "voice"
  • My SBI! site is up
  • Networking

Two New Passive Income Sources

My passive income grew from 4 dollars to 22 dollars this month. That is an increase of 450%. Percentages are just fun, aren't they. I hope to see similar over-exponential growth in the future too.

It always feels special when I get money from somewhere I have not been able to get it before. This month I opened two new sources.

I got my very first donation. It came from my other blog and it was actually given by a person whose work I admire myself. I was glowering the whole next day although I also felt a bit awkward too. It would have been easier to accept a donation from a total stranger. I wonder why?

I also got my first affiliate sales. Maybe it was you who bought SBI! though this blog? Thank you so much for reading my blog and supporting me. Getting those sales felt even better than the donation! Why? Because it is not only money. Getting an affiliate sale means that I have been able to help someone. It feels better than doing a product and just getting paid afterward, what the donation practically is about. I like helping people, it just feels good.

Yes, this blog is full of affiliate links. I put them where-ever I can. World is full of affiliate programs, so I don't have to do any compromises in my writing - I can just write what I want and stick the affiliate links in. For example, the AdFly link in the beginning of this post is an affiliate link. I would have mentioned it anyway, now I'll just get pennies if someone joins through that links and earns with it. You win - I win. I love this game.

I Joined SiteBuildIt!

How did I get the affiliate sales? You do know I have had affiliate links up for some time already. I think I got those sales thanks to SiteBuildIt!

The course contains a book that taught me how to write articles, call-to-actions and copy-writing. While I don't polish articles in this blog much, I practice the concepts from that book. I think my writing has improved much - and so others are more prone to listen to me. Writing is now easier too.

I now also know how to implement the call-to-action pattern and if needed, link several pages to create it.

I used to think that a good product or service sells itself. So I was a bit reluctant to learn marketing and all that jazz. I don't think so anymore - a good product can just sit there somewhere on a corner of the wide wide web and no-one finds it. Suddenly reading about marketing is fun - the information is really useful and SiteBuildIt! presents it in a way that I can see the benefits and apply it to practice immediately.

Finding My "Voice"

I did not realize before that I should try to pour some "me" into my writing. SBI! helped with that too. Now I'm slowly learning to write in my own personal style. I must admit that I enjoy writing more now.

Enjoying writing is a good thing, since I'm going to write a whole bunch or articles to my new site. That is what I am going to do next.

My SiteBuildIt! Site Is Up

Yes, I have my own site online already. It has been up about a week now and attracted over 100 visits.

I'm not going to tell you the exact URL or what the site concept keywords are, not yet.

It concentrates on selling an affiliate product. It is a product I love and have been using for years. I just never thought I could make any money writing about that subject. I used to think I need to have a superb new idea or make something "commercially useful". But now it seems I will be able to make money just by writing about a topic I feel passionate about.


This month I've communicated with a lot of really nice and super interesting people, both online and offline.

I got some invaluable help and advice from Rebecca, who originally gave me inspiration for my SBI! Site Concept. I wrote to the creator of my affiliated product and got back the most genuinely friendly customer support response I've ever had. It will be a joy to sell her product. In addition, I discussed with several inspiring entrepreneurs, including a person from a company that recently was judged to be the start-up of the year. Also, I've mailed with successful SBIers.

I'm starting to see a pattern here. Are most successful people smart, flexible, helpful, friendly and happy? Now, I've really enjoyed meeting these people. Before I used to meet this kind of persons maybe once in two years. Now they are everywhere!

The Challenge

The challenge right now is the time. SiteBuildIt! is a tortoise. I know I can make money with my topic. I just don't know if I'm fast enough to achieve my goal. I still have high hopes. Reaching my goal with my SiteBuildIt! site does require that I get traffic faster than average SBI site. But I'm good at getting traffic. We will see.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Midway Battle - SBI! vs GRWeB 3.0

I just reached midway in both SiteBuildIt! and Getting Rich With eBooks 3.0. I have promised you a review, so..  Let's make them battle!

Yes, I know this is not an even fight. SiteBuildIt! is an all-inclusive passive income business building program, while Getting Rich With eBooks is a course for making best-selling ebooks. But, for a newbie they stand almost on the same line.

"I want to start earning passive income online - tell me what to do!" - They both promise to deliver that.

Also, SiteBuildIt! costs $299 per year and Getting Rich With eBooks 3.0 costs $400. So why not compare them?

Time required - Winner: Getting Rich With eBooks 3.0

I used about 40 hours to reach the midway in SiteBuildIt!

Reaching midway in Getting Rich With eBooks took me 8-10 hours.

Getting things done - Winner: SiteBuildIt!

After SiteBuildIt! day 5 I have:

  • Preliminary site map for my future site. That is, plans for 57 pages with SEO-friendly keywords
  • Draft for my site's home page. It is not search engine optimized yet, but otherwise ready
  • A domain. Included in the price, it is registered and ready for me
  • Learned a lot on copy writing and search engine optimization
  • Learned how to evaluate my ideas
  • Knowledge that my site has commercial potential
  • Monetization plan for my site

After video 4 of Getting Rich With eBooks I have:

  • Homework to write the whole book
  • Homework to invent a top-selling book title
  • Homework to buy a domain
  • Homework to design graphics for my book and web site OR to hire a designer to do that
  • Homework to check legalities around my subject OR to hire a lawyer to do that
  • Learned how to evaluate my ideas
  • Learned some valuable tips and tricks about eBook writing and publishing 
  • Knowledge that my idea has commercial potential

In SiteBuildIt! you'll do the work during the course, not as an extra homework. It is like a parent holding your hand when you have to face something scary. Whenever it is time to do something, it says: "Do it now and then come back to me".

In Getting Rich With eBooks you'll watch the video first and then you get an assignment for the next week. After the first 3 videos I felt that the homework was reasonable. The video went through the information needed to do the tasks. But the fourth video was different. It skimmed through an awfully large topic - writing a book, and then gave an assignment to write it. Now I have a horrible list of homework to do.

Extra costs - Winner: SiteBuildIt!

When I joined these courses, I did expect to have some extra costs. I expected that I need to buy a domain and get some graphics for my site/book.

SiteBuildIt! gave me a nice surprise gift - the domain is included in the price. Not only that, also the WordTracker credits needed for keyword research were included. So I now have this impression that with SiteBuildIt! there might not be any extra costs for me at all. We'll see.

Getting Rich With eBooks gave me a disappointment - it suggests that I should hire several experts to help me with different issues. Well, it does say that I can do them myself too, but that it is not worth it. I assume Vic is right here. It may not be worth it to do everything yourself. But it sure would have been nice to know there are so many extra costs *before* I joined the course.

Simplicity - Winner: Getting Rich With eBooks

SiteBuildIt! will overwhelm you at the start. You'll get this feeling that it pours so much information to you that you'll choke. It has its own concepts, abbreviations and tools. And you'll lose some precious time learning them. But on the other hand, the tools save you a lot of time.

Getting Rich With eBooks is not complex. It tells you the minimum what you'll need to do and then asks you to do that. Simple tasks after another. The downside is that you'll start to wonder if the course really told you everything that is important. If it does, he offers nice counterbalance to SBI! Maybe all those well planned steps are not required to succeed. If it doesn't... well, then your chances of succeeding may be smaller.

Worth per penny - Winner: Who knows?

Worth is very hard to evaluate. It might have been either of these two courses that gave me the critical piece of information. If you take the opportunity, I think one can succeed with either of these programs.

However, I do think Getting Rich With eBooks costs too much compared to what I have got from it this far. Especially taken into account that it contains very little information that SiteBuildIt! wouldn't have.

I bought SiteBuildIt! with the monthly subscription option. It costs me $30 per month and I think it is reasonable priced. However, if you don't know how to transfer domains and web pages away from SiteBuildIt! system, they will charge you the monthly subscription price for as long as your site is up.

Worst this far

In SiteBuildIt! the worst is definitely "The Way of The Tortoise". Everything proceeds so slowly!

Another thing that I have grown a bit annoyed is the repetition and constant material over-delivery. They want to make sure that everybody surely get the main points. I feel that is a bit outdated thinking and would prefer more condensed course, implemented in a way that I would not feel that I'd miss something important if I took the shorter route. But both of my problems here are just minor annoyances.

In Getting Rich With eBooks the worst for me is the lack of trust. It feels like I would be dealing with a car salesman. Can I trust what he says?

Also, the videos are of poor quality. They are not cut in any way, even to hide the technical problems they had in the live courses where the recording was made. I'm not really interested in waiting 15 minutes if someone raises her hand or not. While in SiteBuildIt! the slowness comes from the huge amount of study material, in Getting Rich With eBooks the slowness comes from laziness. This man supposedly sold eBooks for million dollars, yet he cannot afford to get his videos properly edited.

Best this far

SBI! has removed the pressure from my project. I don't need to hassle around, worry and get everything ready today. With this program, it is easy to believe that I will succeed. But it may take a bit longer than I expected. Fortunately, there is still plenty of time before my goal deadline.

That is my best benefit, but then, I am a programmer with over 10 years of experience. I'd bet that most people would say that the best thing in SiteBuildIt! is that it frees you to concentrate on the business. It handles all the technicalities for you so you can focus on the issues where the money is.

Getting Rich With eBooks has taught me an effective way to do simple keyword research. Even though I now have all the nice tools that SiteBuildIt! offers, I still do quick sanity checks for the main keywords using Vic's method. Simple, fast and easy.

Another great thing in Getting Rich With eBooks is the Affirmations Audio. That 20-minute recording is a work of art. It has perfect affirmations needed to succeed in a passive income project. I do have my own affirmations, but I really like these. I still listen to this audio almost every day.


I think SiteBuildIt! is the winner for me, no doubt there. I feel that it will teach me everything I need to know about passive income web business. If something, it may teach me too much!

I also like that in SiteBuildIt! I can access all the information there is after the initial $30 payment. You cannot access all the tools right away, but that is not needed. Right now I feel that the biggest reason for Getting Rich With eBooks to hide parts of the course is that if people would be able to see everything right away, they might turn back and never return.

At the end of my first review I thought that Getting Rich With eBook did offer value for a newbie. But then I found SiteBuildIt! Of course, they work on a bit different subjects, but this far Getting Rich With eBooks has contained very little information that is not available in SiteBuildIt!

If after all this you are still interested in Getting Rich With eBooks, here is my advice:
Pay the initial $12, watch the available two videos and download Vic's keyword research excel. Also get the affirmations audio. After that, evaluate the situation again! Do you really want to continue? If not, just remember to cancel your subscription so that they don't continue charging you. 

Right now I'm really exited about SiteBuildIt! It is a solid program. It is so good that I am thinking whether or not I should buy a one year subscription for my sister as her birthday gift.

My second advice to you is:
Visit SBI! Order Page right away and take their monthly subscription option. That will give you access to a goldmine of passive income study material and still leaves you a nice way out if you find out that the program is not for you. They do have 90 day money back guarantee too, so there really is no risk seeing the course material.

Even though I no longer recommend Getting Rich With eBooks, I'm not resigning either. There are 4 videos more even though the eBook is (or should be) ready already. Vic has several times mentioned how important the steps after the book creation are, so I am really eager to hear what he has to offer. But you'll have to wait some time for the next review... it will take me some time to write the book!

Overall, I'm glad that I have two programs instead of just one. It gives me some perspective on what things are really important to earn passive income online.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Week 11 - Relaxing Pays Off

Look at this:

That is 19 hours!

I can honestly say that Freckle saved this week. I had a feeling that I did very little for my passive income project this week. But Freckle says I did over 15 h of SiteBuildIt!, which is more than in any previous week.

So, what changed?

I stopped trying so hard.

When I wrote my last week report I was a bit fed up. Things were not proceeding with the speed I was hoping for and the sparkle of this passive income project was wearing off. I definitely did not start this week with enthusiasm and motivation. As my goal states that I should have fun and relax, I did that. I decided that this week I would concentrate on other things and do my passive income project on the side, only when I feel like it.

On monday, I did not really feel like doing SiteBuildIt!, so I stopped just after half an hour. But on several other days SiteBuildIt! just captured me. Still, I did A LOT of other things, including some things that I have been waiting to do for a long time.

If I would not have Freckle I'd say that I just skimmed through the week doing things that I enjoy and visited my passive income project every now and then. But the pulse disagrees - telling me that this is the best week this far.

I definitely need to continue taking things more easy!

Halfway there!

Freckle tells me that I have now put 40 h to SiteBuildIt! That have taken me to the end of day 5 and I am now officially halfway to finish that course.

I am also halfway in Getting Rich With eBooks 3.0 after spending little over 4 hours on it. Quite a difference.  But I do think I may have spent couple of hours to this course before I got Freckle, so the actual amount might be 6-8 hours.

Tip of the week

This one comes from Steve:

Getting too excited or passionate about a goal actually pushes it away. You wouldn't feel so excited if you were already there and living it. It would just feel normal to you. Excess emotion, even positive emotion, can be a source of friction that makes it harder to achieve your goals.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Why I Choose To Pay

I'm 10 weeks into my passive income project. By now I have bought several eBooks, joined Getting Rich With eBooks 3.0 course and become a member of SiteBuildIt! My former self would be asking me now:

She is a smart person. Why on earth is she buying that stuff when there is so much material and tools available for free? 

Well, dear former self, I have several compelling reasons.

I want to attract nice and happy customers

If you act like a poor customer, you'll attract poor customers. No matter what your affirmations say.

Yes, that is about mindset issues. Soon after I started this project, I was getting feelings that I should change my shopping habits. At first I did not realize why I was so compelled to do that. Then I read this wonderful article series by IttyBiz: Your 5 Customers, or How To Sell To Damn Near Anybody. That is a bit long read, but you will not regret it.

While I was reading, I was trying to find out which customer I am myself. I did not perfectly match to any of the categories, but I did find myself somewhere between Bob and Daniel. When I read the personality description for those customers I was shocked:

Bob - He is anxious, concerned, and risk-averse.

Daniel - He’s pessimistic and has a low tolerance for risk. At any given time, he’s pretty sure things are not going to work out in his favor.

I realized that even though I had worked on changing my limiting beliefs, I had not changed my behavior accordingly. I was still acting like a whiny poor customer. Doing that, I would come up with business ideas that appeal and attract people like that. People who don't buy so much and tend to need extra customer support.

Since that day I've made some extra effort trying to think and behave like Amy:

Amy is a basically happy and logical human being. She’s reasonably confident, mostly optimistic, and her purchase is a fairly logical act. She has a high risk tolerance.

Who does that describe too? Well, to me it describes a successful person.

This approach has already paid me off. I have recognized several product possibilities that would appeal mostly to Daniel and Bob. I have thrown those ideas away. I have plenty of better ones now that target to happy Amy.

I want to feel the abundance - I want to be generous 

You need to live according to your beliefs. Telling yourself that you live in abundance has little effect if in everyday life you feel that you cannot afford the things you want and need. Successful people let other people help them. When someone offers them a helping hand, they accept it smiling.

The loser instead, he thinks that he gets cheated by everyone.

My current affirmations include (but don't limit to) these:
World is a wonderful place full of opportunities. People are always friendly and everyone wants to help me. I accept help and I am glad to help others. I live in abundance. I have a beautiful home and a lovely husband. I have plenty of money to buy what I need and what I want. I can select where I live. I can select which projects I take part in. I achieve my goals easily and I enjoy life.

With a worldview like that, why wouldn't I buy products that sound interesting? I especially enjoy buying from little bootstrapped businesses and people like you and me. I prefer those over large companies. And what my affirmations say is true - I really can afford it.

I need to benchmark level of service and delivery methods

How can I offer good service to my future customers, if I have not experienced it firsthand online?

I am to produce services and product that are either used online or downloaded. That means I definitely need to know how that works from the customer point of view. Buying books from Amazon is not enough. I need to get some idea what good buying experience is about. I need to know the differences between the service providers.

I already know I'm not going to handle the charging of people's credit cards myself, nor am I going to implement secured product delivery myself. It is just not worth the trouble, and those parts are critical. If something goes wrong there, I want to be able to just switch the provider instead of crashing and burning myself. That means I need to find a service provider for those services.

So every time I buy something, I check who does the actual delivery. Did I enjoy buying through them? Could I use this service provider myself?

While I go, I evaluate my buying and usage experience. I carefully check what kind of support options I have. I give feedback and see how the seller reacts. If I have the slightest reason to get support, I do that - just to get the feel of how they provide it.

I don't want to waste my time

I want to learn from an expert who already lives on money earned online. Nothing beats the experience.

Put your ego aside and you'll succeed faster! For long I had this stubborn idea that I want to succeed on my own - but not anymore.

Let me tell you an example. Some years ago I learned silver jewelry-making. I learned that online, using only free resources. I read forums and blogs and browsed through web pages that had free courses. I had great fun and the jewelry looked great. But eventually I wanted to meet other people doing jewelry too and I signed to a silver jewelry course.

In the very first lesson we did a trivial but a time consuming preparation task while the teacher approached me. She gave me little tips and tricks that more than doubled my speed on that task. I did a mental head-desk when I realized how much time I could have saved by taking the course earlier. Plus that change in technique fixed a little quality problem that I had long struggled with.

I have also learned that the same lesson applies on computing world - except the effect is much greater. An experienced programmer can be tenfold faster than a beginner and still produce better code.

The same applies to the process of making good money online. Unlike in real life tasks, just getting something done is often not good enough. There are others who already know the tips and tricks - they'll run right past you. In the web "not good enough" is spelled "failure".

I need to know that I know enough

As a newbie to passive income, my biggest problem is: "How do I know that I have not missed anything critical"?

You might have thought that the biggest problem would be how to get information. It is not. World wide web is here. There are plenty of free tools, courses and material. Don't be disillusioned and think that good stuff is not available for free. There is plenty of free good stuff. More than we can digest.

You can learn all the bits and pieces for free. But bits and pieces are worth nothing if I don't see the big picture (or process) and be able to apply them in practice. As a beginner, I don't have that big picture - I don't know the process.

For example, look at this demographics report from Quantcast:

The report shows the site visitor demographics for my competitor site. I had no idea that these kind of reports are available for free on this detail. I might have stumbled on this by accident though - or then not. Even if I had, I may not have known that this is critical information for me.

I know I'm not missing any critical steps, when I learn the process from someone who already earns his/her living online. Just to gain that confidence is worth the course. When she/he tells me the things I need to know, I don't have to wonder around the net reading "just a little more" to make sure I know enough on some subject. I accept help and let other people solve that critical problem for me.

That is also the reason I joined two courses instead of one. As a newbie I cannot objectively evaluate the information given to me on a foreign subject. When I was younger I thought I could do that. But I've grown wiser. So while I follow the courses I pay attention to the differences in them and the emphasis each puts on different steps of the process.

Final Thoughts - Let other people help you!

The prerequisite to make this approach work is that I have chosen good courses. And that's where Steve comes in. I have decided to let him help me.

I am well aware that the products Steve recommends are his affiliates. But I have chosen to trust Steve. Of course he has different opinions and worldview than I have, but he recommends quality stuff. I may not like all of what he recommends, like Sedona Method and Marty Lefkoe's method. But me not liking them does not mean there is no value in them. There is just no value for me, at this point of time.

There are thousands of products with affiliate programs and Steve is in a position where he can pick the ones that are really good. I believe I need to let people help me in order to succeed. I am letting Steve, Vic, Allan, Amy, Ken and everybody else with the right knowledge and attitude to help me. Including you. Thank you so much!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Week 10 - Enthusiasm Wearing Off

Here is my Freckle pulse from last week:

That is 16 hours. Most of it went to SiteBuildIt and I'm ready to start the course day 5. That means I now have my site concept (idea, monetization, structure) studied and I'm ready to refine the concept and register a domain name for it.

I also watched the 4th webinar of Getting Rich With eBooks 3.0. It is going to take a while before I'll get to watch the next part. The assignment for this week was to write the book and get it ready for publishing. I'm not going to do that in one week, not even in one month. I want to make it good and properly collect some material for it.

The overly enthusiastic feelings about my passive income project are finally wearing off. I welcome that as it makes my life more relaxed. I no longer dwell on my ideas while I should be sleeping and imagine what it will be like when my "web empire" is ready. This leaves me energy to spend on other things and that is nice.

I want to have a daily routine that is not only hard work. 10-15 hours of work per week that actively takes my project forward is enough. Thanks to Freckle, I now see where my time goes. Sometimes I feel like I did much and then it says I did, but only wrote blog articles or did something else that does not actively take my project forward. This week 11 hours of the work I did was taking me forward. The other 5 hours did not.

Tip of the week

Carry a notebook or a journal. When you get business ideas, just write them down. Then you don't have to dwell on them, but you don't forget them either.