I get money questions from subscribers to the Money Matter newsletter, as well as from those who get my Unusual Ways (To Make and Save Money) newsletter. Here are three recent ones, along with my answers.
Q: I just bought your course (You Can Make Money Writing, which is no longer available). You and other marketers talk about creating ebooks and then creating websites for them; sometimes that adds up to 20 or 30 websites. To me, that sounds expensive. Although domains are fairly cheap, hosting fees, on a monthly basis really add up if you have many websites. Is there any way to get around this?
A: If you have a decent sales you might do well with only a couple ebooks and websites (we could pay all our bills with some of our sites by themselves). You can also start one and use the profits from that to pay for the next and so on.
But hosting isn’t that expensive. At Hostgator, for example, they have a plan for about $8 monthly that allows unlimited websites. If you go to hostgator.com you’ll see a link that says: View Web Hosting Plans . That will get you to a page that shows several plans. You are limited in bandwidth, but we could put a dozen of our sites on a server like that, meaning it would be less than a dollar per month each. We currently use a plan with them that costs $25 per month and we have about 25 active sites on that. In any case, if you pay by the year you can get the cost down to $5 per month and then upgrade once you start making some money off the first site.
The other way around the problem – if you are really short on cash – is to start with a free blog at blogger.com. No cost except a bit of time figuring it out (the technical stuff is my weak point so my wife does most of that). Then you could create an ebook, list it for sale at Lulu.com (it cost nothing last time I looked) and use your blog to promote the ebook. Find a free PDF converter (there are few online) and you can start your internet business with no money at all (assuming you have a computer and internet access already).
We probably spent about $600 on our business before we started making money, plus $100 for a used computer. But hosting and almost everything else has gotten cheaper. There really are ways to start with nothing or speed it up with just a couple hundred dollars. Good luck.
Q: Is money really that important?
A: Money is more important than people realize but overvalued at the same time. Although that may sound contradictory, it isn’t. We tend to ignore the power of money for good and bad. It’s all about how we use it or abuse it and how we could use it. Certainly if we love people and want them to eat, get medical care, etc, money is important. Even spiritual pursuits often involve money, since we cannot buy a good book or visit a good teacher or build a meditation retreat without it. And the ways in which we spend it powerfully impacts lives around the world for better or worse. It is important in this life if this life is important.
But at the same time most people put too much value on money for it’s own sake. It’s easy to get caught up in chasing after it while forgetting that the value is in what it can be traded for. We wish we had time to pursue this or that worthy goal for example (time with children, writing a book, traveling, attending a retreat, starting a school), and money would buy the time for those things if it was used that way, but instead we fall into debt and then spend more time going after more money (and how valuable can it be if we don’t know how to use it wisely in any case?). Then money becomes not only without much value or true usefulness, but it actually helps lead us away from what is valuable.
Money is a very important tool in life, but like any tool it is not valuable because we can look at it, own it or show it off. And it is not useful if we try to use it for the wrong purposes, any more than a hammer is valuable for cutting wood. The value is in what we create using it.
Q: I’m a natural procrastinator, and I’ve had a great business opportunity for the past month, but each day I say I’m going to do something about it, then put it off another day. That seems to make it more and more difficult to get started. Any advice?
A: Motivation is one of those mysteries of human nature, and what works for one doesn’t for another. But procrastination unfortunately trains you to procrastinate more (you basically convince your brain/mind that action doesn’t have to follow intention), so I would either quit the goal completely for now or do one of the following things that have worked for me and others:
1. Be sure that you want to do it and have good reasons, then focus on those reasons.
2. Find anything else that excites you (a plan, a vacation, a political opinion – anything) and talk about it to someone, and then go back to the task at hand (this is a way to create energy and then transfer it to what you want to do).
3. Finally, what seems to work best is momentum. The second you finish this email do something towards your goal, however small. Later take one more small step, and do the same tomorrow. If it is a small enough step you shouldn’t have any trouble overcoming your inertia, and yet it will create a bit of momentum. At some point the movement itself creates motivation.