Lee pointed out this forum to me and I thought my story might inspire or encourage other webpreneurs... so here goes...
In 1994, I was working for a non-profit organization and wishing I could work for myself full-time. I had my own mobile DJ business, but it only supplemented my weekly income.
One day I was reading a computer game magazine and thought that the writers must get all their games for free. So I decided to start a local magazine (eg: home published and copied zine) and called software companies, asking for software to review.
Before I knew it, it was like my birthday every day, with software coming in like crazy! I recruited volunteer writers from AOL to review the games I received. I couldn't pay them, but I sent them the software, they wrote a review, and got to keep the software in lieu of cash.
One of my writers suggested that I stop publishing the traditional way and convert my zine to html and put it on the web.
I had NO idea what he was talking about and summarily dismissed the idea. HTML. Web. Bah!
It wasn't until 1995 when I went to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas that the lightbulb was turned on. I finally understood the Internet and the web, and set out to create my first site, WorldVillage.com.
I began building the site and managed to raise a little money to support myself. So I quit my job. Yikes!
About 6 months later I began questioning whether or not I made the right move because I was burning through cash quickly and not selling many advertisements.
I was down to about $1.87 in my checking account when I had to exercise my faith and pray for a miracle. After all, I had a wife and two small children to take care of.
Well, my miracle came the very next week in the form of an email from a gentleman claiming to represent a Japanese new media firm that wanted to "license" my content and translate it to Japanese so they could use it on their site.
I figured he would offer me a couple hundred dollars/month for my software reviews.
My jaw almost hit the floor when he told me they would be willing to pay $5000 per month for my content! Wow!
Needless to say, my hard work of creating content had begun paying off as I took the deal.
Over the year, I began adding games to WorldVillage.com, and my webmaster pointed out a java-based multiplayer game site that only had a few people playing it.
I contacted the site owner and suggested that we partner up. He would continue to code the site and I would market it to the web.
The site was called ClassicGames.com, and people could join to play traditional table and board games, like hearts, spades, chess, checkers, bridge, backgammon, etc... With my promotions, we had hundreds of people playing games on the site.
In late 1996, I received an email from Yahoo! asking if we were interested in working with them. The site was acquired (very inexpensively for Yahoo, but I was happy) and is now known as Yahoo! Games. It became my first $1,000,000 dollar deal!
Next, I continued building sites I thought people would enjoy, including my bargain hunting site, Dealofday.com. The forums at this site are still great earners for me and we have thousands of visitors each day.
From 2000-2003, I suffered through the dotcom bust like so many others. But I rode out the crash and managed to keep my business running.
In 2003, Google debuted their AdSense program. I Tried putting ads on my site and failed miserably! It wasn't until April 2004 that I went back to the drawing board and began playing with my AdSense blocks. I figured out the right combination of colors, block sizes and page placements to boost my revenue from $30/day to over $500/day!
With my newfound knowledge, I taught some of my friends and associates how to increase their AdSense earnings.
The kudos began coming in and I decided to write an ebook on the topic.
In Jan 2005, I released the first edition of "What Google Never Told You About Making Money with AdSense". I thought I'd be thrilled if I sold 100 copies at $77.
I did that within the first weekend! And from there, it got better and better. People were hungry for this information and I was happy to provide the resource.
A 2nd edition was released in summer of 2005 and a 3rd edition in March 2006. By this time, I had begun attending Internet marketing seminars and was becoming established as an in-demand speaker.
Fast-forward to today... Discontent with doing the same old thing, I decided to take a bold step to differentiate myself in the marketplace. I have now produced the world's first competitive Internet reality show, "The Next Internet Millionaire" (Reality TV on the Web – The Next Internet Millionaire with Joel Comm
). We are now in talks with tv networks around the world to distribute the show.
Honestly, I didn't plan this kind of success. I just knew that if I did the right things and stuck with it, success would come naturally. I'm just a regular guy with a family. If any of you have met me, you would know that I don't deserve to be on a pedastal of any kind. Any one can have success online if you stay aware of the opportunities that exist around you, leverage them to the best of your ability and never give up!
I hope my story is an inspiration to others. If you enjoyed it, please click the BACK link in the green box at the top of the post.