Answering the Question, “What Do You Do for a Living?”
When you make a living online, a lot of people won’t understand what it is you do. Some of them will think you’re nothing more than a spammer – just because you work on the Internet. You might even run into people who automatically assume you’re into promoting porn, because they think that’s all the Internet is used for!
You need to be prepared to deal with people like this. Some of them may even be close friends and family members who are simply ignorant about the various marketing uses for the World Wide Web.
The first thing you need to explain to people is that very few people who work on the Internet are spammers. Spammers actually make up a very, very small minority of those who make money online.
If you do any sort of email marketing, you should explain that every single person you send email to has signed up specifically to your newsletter, and clicked a link to confirm that they really want to be on your list.
Explain to them that subscribing to your newsletter is a lot like signing up for delivery of the newspaper, or a magazine subscription. People sign up to your newsletter, and then you send them valuable information, not just advertising.
If you sell eBooks online, you can explain to people that you’re a bit like a book publisher, but all of the books you publish are in digital format. You can tell them that instead of paying a lot of extra money for the printing, binding, marketing, and shipping of a physical book, you eliminate those costs by selling all of your books as downloadable products.
If people still don’t understand, you could even show them what an eBook is by letting them view one on your computer. If your main business is advertising affiliate products, you can tell people you’re in advertising.
Explain to them that you run a website (or websites) and you place advertising on that website. Every time someone clicks an ad and purchases something, you receive a commission. If you make most of your money through AdSense or selling advertising on your sites, you can simply tell people that you place advertisements on your websites, and you charge advertisers for that ad space.
If you want to, you could show them some of your sites or blogs to illustrate the point. Some people feel more comfortable just telling people they design websites. If you’re a decent website builder, this will probably really impress people, but be prepared to get requests from people asking if you’ll make them a site, too.
If you don’t want to deal with all of the questions about spamming and porn, just telling someone you design websites will usually be enough to throw them off your trail. If people are particularly persistent with their questions, you can start to point out some examples of people who have been very successful making money online.
Don’t just use examples of famous Internet marketers like John Reese or Yanik Silver! Use some examples with verifiable “proof” in mainstream media. For example, the famous “make money” blogger John Chow has a number of stories out there about him.
There’s also teenaged entrepreneur Ashley Squalls who has made mainstream news in a big way by making over $70,000 per month with advertising on her site that gives away MySpace layouts. And of course, the infamous Perez Hilton – a celebrity blogger who cashes in on the ad space his blog has.
You should try to realize that some people will just never understand what you do. Try to explain it the best way you can, and if it doesn’t work, accept it. Some people just won’t get it. If the in-laws or your spouse are nagging you because your money isn’t yet streaming in, and you feel pressured, put together a simple presentation that answers all of their questions and puts their minds at ease.