Ben is the founder of a website called Ways2Earn.com, a user-led forum where people can share and discuss earning opportunities from across the internet. Ben started the site with the intention of providing a place for people looking to earn money online (whether it be to top up their existing income or replace it completely) to go for honest advice.
1. Why did you decide to start Ways2Earn.com?
Since I first had regular access to the internet (about 15 years ago), I've always been interested in utilizing it as a source of income. There are countless ways to do this; however, I discovered very quickly that it's very difficult to find honest and useful advice. There are, of course, many forums on the same subject, but it's a struggle to find one that isn't awash with people who are ultimately trying to direct you towards their own or somebody else's product or website. I wanted to create something more visually appealing than the "standard look" forums, a site that was simple and easy to navigate and well-enough moderated to maintain a culture of honesty.
I guess what it boils down to is that I wanted to create a website that I would find useful myself.
2. What are some of the challenges you find that people face when looking to develop an online income?
I think one of the main problems people face when they look to start out online is that they are hoping to find something that's immediately going to provide the key to their riches. This is completely understandable when there are so many websites out there telling you how easy this is to do, in the hope of selling you their "blueprint to success."
In reality, genuine get-rich-quick opportunities simply do not exist, and unless people realize this, they are likely to keep bouncing from one of these over-hyped guides to another, until they eventually give up because their expectations can't possibly be met.
If you are looking to develop a full-time income on the internet, you need to think of it as you would any other business, and build it from the bottom up. This means that a lot of effort is likely to be involved building the foundations before you even make a penny. I don't think most people would be adverse to putting this effort in if they were well-enough informed in the first place.
3. In terms of earning regularly through various sources of "micro" income, what do you think are the qualities that make someone successful?
It's probably a fairly obvious thing to say, but tenacity is surely the most important quality to have when looking to make any sort of income. With a lot of sites that offer the chance to earn a bit of income on the side, at the outset you can find yourself earning very little in relation to the work you put in, yet this can often improve massively if you stick with it. Your earning potential is often based on your reputation with the site, particularly with freelance sites such as Textbroker and Elance, so naturally you are likely to see your earnings improve over time.
Of course, you're a lot more likely to stick with sites that offer work that suits your interests. Therefore, if you're planning on investing regular time in any source of income, it's wise to choose topics that you're already enthusiastic about.
Having long term goals is also very useful. If you have an ultimate idea of a specific amount you're looking to earn, such as enough to cover your next holiday, each bit of income you earn along the way is a step towards this, and watching your goal drawing ever closer can be a great motivating factor to keep you going.
4. In your own life, what motivated you to leave your previous career and focus on doing online work in web design and internet marketing?
I've always dreamed of working for myself, and my love of computers was enough to convince me that the internet was the ideal way to do this. I've never really been a nine-to-five type of person, so I suppose I sort of saw it as the key to my freedom. I'm not frightened of a hard day's work, but it's great to be able to do it on my own terms and my own schedule.
The other really attractive thing about having an online business is the fact that it is a location-free career. I'm a keen traveler, and having the internet as my sole business requirement allows me to travel and work at the same time.
5. What has been the biggest challenge and what has been the greatest pleasure in your career shift?
It's hard to name the biggest single challenge, but I suppose for me, if I had to name one, it was probably convincing myself to commit full-time to a new career as it meant giving up the security of my previous job. It's really difficult to make that jump into the unknown, but I'm very glad I did.
There have been so many challenges along the way, and it can get really frustrating at times, but the satisfaction you get from finding the solution to each problem always seems to provide you with the inspiration you need to overcome the next one. I've just realized how cheesy that sounds--but it's true!
My greatest pleasure was without doubt seeing new users appear on a site I'd built from scratch. I think everyone gets a certain sense of fulfillment from seeing people get genuine use out of something they've created.