Making Money

Even as a little kid, I kind of knew that I'm going to be making some bold moves when I grow up. I wasn't the lemonade stand kid - we didn't have that kind of a culture in Korea, although some of the boys did deliver newspaper. I thought about doing it once and I don't know if it was my mum that didn't approve or if it was just me that didn't go ahead with it but I never really ended up doing anything remotely entrepreneurial in Primary School.

But when I got to High School, things had changed. This was probably 1998 and the mainstream internet had just started. My High School required each student to get a laptop. I'd say most of the students got the recommended laptop that they sold at the school. I believe it was an NEC - it looked slick and it was slim. The price tag on it seemed like a lot of money though, and I didn't want my parents to have to fork out that much money. So I found a cheaper alternative in a newspaper ad and ended up getting a Compaq.

That was a huge mistake - because there was something wrong with the screen. The screen went dark after a few months of use. There must have been a huge defect with that particular laptop - I ended up having to get the screen repaired 3 times within a year, and each time they just put on a brand new one. They told my old man on the 3rd repair that they will not be able to do it again. I don't have that frugal mentality anymore. I generally just live for today but it's very interesting looking back, that my thoughts were mature in some ways like that and by that I mean, looking out for my parents because I knew my parents weren't as rich as the parents of the other students.

I went to the one of the most elite, most wealthy private schools here in Melbourne. If you ask me, it's not worth the money but the fact that I had to get a laptop back then, when no other schools were doing it, actually changed my life forever.

I learned how to write HTML. I learned how to code Perl and run the guestbook scripts through the cgi-bin directory. I ran into so many permission issues but I think the solution back then was to just make everything 755. This led to the young me getting my hands on some internet money early on through running an MP3 site with banner ads. I think the good ads were paying 20 cents a click and I was getting quite a bit of traffic to my MP3 site. At the end of this era, I managed to get myself a check from Microsoft - who ran the banner exchange site - to the tune of a few hundred US dollars.

The teller lady at the bank asked me "where did you get this from?" when I went to cash it. Something to that effect. There's actually a longer story behind this and I'm not going to share it publicly here because I'm not proud of it. I mean, distributing Korean music as MP3s was, believe it or not - illegal. But there's more to this story that I'm not telling you.

Anyway, this happened around the time I was 16 or maybe 17. This must have been my very first entrepreneurial move. Here I am, about 20 years later sitting on my desk at 11:52pm. Now it's 11:42am in my co-working space. I stopped writing and went to bed last night. My Galaxy Watch tells me I slept 8 hours and 14 minutes with an actual sleep time of 7 hours 24 minutes - not bad at all.

I can't say I make money by writing but it certainly has helped push up my SEO and allow me to be found, thanks to one blog post that went #1 on Hacker News. There was a Japanese tech media outlet that asked me if they could translate my blog post to Japanese so I said, "sure, go ahead but please link it back to my website". I made sure it was a followed link, not a nofollow.

That little set of events there actually brought in a lot of money for me, because Google picked up my website is technology related, development related and I was ranking really well for Magento related keywords, especially locally here in Melbourne, Australia. It's very hard to measure the exact amount of money I would have made from it, but I would estimate it to be over 10,000 AUD and perhaps even, very roughly 50,000 AUD.

So here I am, writing again. I want this iteration of my blog to be different. And it already is. Getting away from WordPress was a good move I think. Not because it's WordPress, but a minimalist platform like Ghost really helps me focus. And not because it's WordPress and it's bad, a fresh new start has me quite motivated to write. My aim is to write over 365 blog posts this year. At least 1 per day. Can I hit my goal? The thing is, I'm actually enjoying writing right now.

Let's stay on track with the topic - making money. I felt like writing about this topic because I was in a really good mood yesterday. I'd been working really hard - but not overdoing it, the past say, 2 or 3 months. Money is coming in again and I'm blessed to have been without a 9 to 5 job for over 3 years now - since the end of 2016. There's quite a bit missing from this story when it comes to explaining my life. Let's just say, the tough times.

Money validates the worthiness of your services. And it is up to you to figure out what that service or product may be. Of course, products are much cooler because you're not selling time for money. You are measured on the positive impact you make through your vision - the greater the impact, the greater the payout.

I guess I always wanted to make big money when I was a kid. There's still some stigma around the word money in both the Western and Eastern cultures as I see it and I think this might be the reason why a lot of people, especially entrepreneurs phrase their childhood dream as - 'I always wanted to be an entrepreneur as a kid'. It's a very hard and foreign word for a 9 year old kid isn't it? Let alone the concept of it and what it actually means to be an entrepreneur. I still have trouble calling myself and entrepreneur. I believe if we removed the social stigma around the word money, I bet you a lot more will say, 'I always wanted to make a lot of money as a kid'.

When I put it like that, the social stigma is understandable. You risk looking like a greedy person. But if someone is operating in the mindset of - what I think a true entrepreneur's mindset should look like, which is - service first then money as a bi-product, then the word 'money' should become 'clean' for that person because those bills would then represent effort, value and improvement of humanity. We're not Jesus though so even if someone operates with that mindset, there's no guarantee that the mindset won't change when that person starts touching a lot of money. That's the hard part as a human being and all of this, I believe is baked into the stigma - so I don't believe the stigma will ever go away.

I guess the length of this post proves my passion for money, cash and code - this has to be the longest post I've written. I wanted to wrap my head around the concept of it once more and clarify it by writing about it. And I'm feeling good about my ability to make money, without an employer. I've had 2 meetings today and both of them confirmed my gut feel - which is I'm on my way to making big money. I'm excited and a little scared at the same time.

Excited because I'll be able to put capital to good use. Fund ventures that will have a positive impact on society. Scared a little because I don't know if it will change me or not. I certainly would not like money to change me. That would mean my foundation as far as my beliefs go is too weak.

Anyway, I just got an email about an AWS consulting job as I was writing this. Another confirmation. I've been through a lot and I'll tell you it was money and greed related. And it happened because I wanted to make a lot of money. I'll write about that part of my life - which I'm in the early stages of recovering from, some other day. Perhaps when I clear my first million in my bank.

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