Building Your Digital Life

Image of a man getting dressed in his bedroom late in the day. On the bed is an open laptop. He is building his digital life.

There has never been a better time to start building your digital life. Ok so things have changed this year in ways none of us could have predicted. But actually things have been changing for a long time. Things always change. Life IS change.

I’ll be 56 in a couple of months and have seen a lot of changes in my time. The biggest changes however – those that have made the biggest difference to my life and circumstances – have been digital. The digital revolution has changed all of the things I’m most passionate about beyond recognition and for the better. 

Some years ago after being made redundant I started my online business. I don’t even think of it as a business. It’s more a way of life. The Internet made that possible so I have to class it as the most profound aspect of the digital world.

I can sit in my pyjamas and do the days money producing activities before I’m properly “up”. The rest of the day is mine to do with what I want. I often earn more in a day than I did in a month of long days and weeks as a corporate executive. Some of my customers are in different times zones and make their purchases while I’m asleep. 

What I do with the freedom I now have has also been drastically changed by digital technology. I’m a musician and photographer. Those along with introducing others to the digital life are my real passions. I hope my story and the resource I’ll share will inspire you to start building your digital life today.

The Good Old Days?

Image of an old mechanical camera - one of the things that have been changed drastically by the digital revolution

I was seriously into photography long before digital cameras (never mind smartphones), computers and the Internet existed. Or at least before we all had them. The mechanical cameras I had were good at the time and I loved my little home cupboard darkroom. I used to find the week or more I’d spend waiting for my professionally produced prints to arrive by post exciting. How many of those 24 or 36 images would be properly exposed, well focussed and worth sticking in an album? 

Would I go back to those days? Not on your Nelly! My first digital camera – a Kodak (remember them?) came with the family’s first computer as part of a “home entertainment package”. By today’s standards they were both crap but at the time they were a revealtion. I could take as many pictures as I wanted, see them instantly, import them to the computer and mess around with them. I could even print them if I wanted to Amazing! 

Now I have an expensive digitlal SLR that doubles as a video recorder and editing software that can do pretty much anything I want. The camera in my phone is almost as good. Both help me to create income online.   

Before photography guitars and music were my passion. Later I was in bands and learned how to record. First on a 4 track tape machine then on a succession of ever improving digital work stations. As with digital photography the digital music revolution was awe inspiring. I went from producing hissy demos tapes to quite polished sounding recordings. I stopped paying other people to record us and built a little home studio in a spare room. 

Faster Cheaper Better 

An old record player sits beside a laptop which is showing a music recording application. An example of building your digital life

Although that was a fabulous set up at the time – not even that long ago – it still involved a lot of equipment. In just the last few years I’ve started doing all my recording on my Macbook. I sold off most of my old kit on Ebay. Now I can produce seriosly pro sounding recordings with a “studio” that fits in a airline approved cabin bag. I have software that replaces and sounds as good as drummers, orchestras and a host of vintage guitar amps. I have software models of studio equipment that would have filled several large rooms and cost a small fortune.

But I’m saving the best for last. That little 13 inch laptop not only contains all of the above, it also connects me to a 24/7/365 income stream that never sleeps. That is what took me from 30 years of 9-5 drudgery to a life of incredible time, location and financial freedom. From a city apartment to a house overlooking the sea. This is really what I mean by building your digital life. This is mine yours can be whatever you want it to be.

In the years when all this incredible change in the things I was passionate about was happening deeper possibilities were becoming apparent. The internet was changing literally everything. I became fascinated with the new breed of dotcom millionaires that were appearing. In my work I was doing a lot of the legwork online. I was finding and contacting new clients from my desk. My old school bosses wanted me “out in the field”or on the phone cold calling. I didn’t see the point. Only the fact that they gave me a lovely company car kept me doing it – sometimes.

Your Digital Life Is Good To Go 

Everyone had websites and they were becoming the go to places to find pretty much everything. At the time Bill Gates famously declared that soon if you didn’t have a website you wouldn’t have a business. 

Google and Facebook went from being information repositories and social network platforms to the biggest advertising companies in the world even though they had no products or inventory themselves. They started to gather information about us that made old types of advertising like print, radio and TV look like the stone age. 

Sharp entrepreneurs created new types of business models that leveraged this virtual goldmine of information. Affiliate marketing and e-commerce were born. These online business models could be run by anyone from anywhere. There was no need to create your own products when you could sell other people’s. None of the bricks and mortar business risks were involved. Got a laptop and a broadband connection? Good to go.

So by the time I was laid off in 2011 starting an online business was simply a no brainer. But building your digital life wasn’t as easy as all those smart marketers made it seem. 

It used to be simply a case of banging up a website, filling it with other peoples products and running cheap ads on Google, Bing, Facebook or later Youtube. Things were getting tighter, more expensive and more sophisticated however. The methods used by those early dotcom millionaires just didn’’t cut it anymore. A lot of them went bust just as quickly as they’d become loaded. 

Pandas And Penguins…

A picture of a Panda representing Google's panda update. Relates to building a digital life in the present internet world

My first efforts at making an income online yielded enough results to provide proof of concept but were not sustainable. I tried a number of the thousands of online biz opps that were out there. None of them lasted long. Some were scams but most were just ill concieved ideas that soon fell foul of increasingly stringent internet marketing rules.

Google et al wanted their users to be shown unique, high quality content, not cut and paste websites and get rich quick schemes. The measures they brought in with their notorious Panda and Penguin updates closed millions of online businesses overnight. I can now see why and fully endorse them for it.

Eventually I realised that it made more sense to sell products and services that people actually wanted rather than fancy new ideas. There was really no need to re-invent the wheel. So I bought into a franchise that sold premade websites in various niches. You picked one you liked and stocked it with affiliate products. I chose the wine niche (another of my passions). 

I really enjoyed it for a time. There was training incuded as well as an online forum for franchisees. Liaising with the other store owners was great and gave me my first experience of being part of an online community of entrepreneurs. This also led to us all becoming aware that the training – based on article spinning – was not only dated but was actually doing more harm than good. 

Building Your Digital Life On Solid Foundations

Image of an impressive bridge over the sea emphasising the importance of building your digital life on solid foundations

Those Google updates I mentioned earlier made the type of businesses we were running and the marketing methods we were being taught obsolete. Two years in the whole thing collapsed. I was lucky enough to get my money back. Myself and some of the others then followed each other into several of the short lived ventures I mentioned before. It seemed like every day there was a new “big thing” on the market. 

I’m sure that churn and burn, get in and out fast world of MLM internet opps still exists. I want no part of it and advise you not to even look for it. 

Instead my advice would be to do as I finally did. Concentrate on building an internet business around products and services that are proven and offer huge value to people. If you don’t have your own there are a ton of these products out there. Perhaps more importantly align yourself with mentors and high value people who can provide what you really need. 

My break came when one of those old contacts sent me a link to a series of free videos. That was nearly seven years ago. The platform, community and business they introduced is now in it’s 11th year. They have provided mentorship, training, tools and resources to thousands of new digital entrepreneurs.  

I genuinley wish I had found them sooner and not wasted so much time, energy and money on the things I did. But as I said before, Change is Life. I learned a lot (mainly about what not to do!) and failing forwards is all part of the process. You can however bypass a lot of it with the right help.

No Better Self Investment 

Running an online business the right way is truly life enhancing. There has never been a better time to do it despite how bad things look in the traditional economy. Building your digital life is probably the best investment in yourself you can make. But I hope my experiences highlight the importance of creating a solid foundation. These videos – click on the link below to get them – will show you exactly how to do that. 

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