My Dot Com Lifestyle in Japan

I was reading John Chow’s article, with accompanying video, The Dot Com Lifestyle, and it prompted me to write a little about my own work-at-home life.

My work commitments

I was an English teacher for ten years, working six days a week, and thinking I was lucky because I only worked for five or six hours in the evenings and had decent holidays. Still, I was more passionate about the internet than teaching, so two years ago I started building some websites, and I turned to the internet full-time in January this year.

Now, my only commitments are one class a week at a kindergarten, and some curriculum work for an international school which I can do from home. Besides that, I have complete time freedom.

What I do to keep busy

An afternoon at the park with RikutoWhile I may have time freedom, I still have to pay the bills somehow, so I’m constantly working away on one of my websites, trying to build it up so it becomes more competitive and attracts more visitors. This doesn’t mean I’m chained to my desk, though. I often sleep in until 10am, work for a couple of hours in my pajamas, have some lunch, do some more work, go for a walk and play with Rikuto for an hour or so, do a bit more work and then finish up at around 6pm.

No longer do I have to put on a shirt and tie, I don’t have to drive to and from school. I don’t have to smile all the time, and I don’t have to shave so often! An added perk is I can avoid all the busy times by going shopping, doing banking, etc. when everyone else is working.

What keeps me motivated

I have come to realize that I don’t need a lot of money to enjoy this lifestyle, so it’s not really the money that motivates me. My natural passion for all things webby is more than enough to keep me at my desk, although knowing my wife and son are counting on me to provide for them is also a factor!

With a 9-month old boy, my wife stays at home, too, so that puts me in the really unique position of being a work-at-home dad who gets to spend all his time with his stay-at-home wife and son.

Am I lucky or what?

I truly am grateful to the internet for giving me a chance to break free from the daily grind and have so much time with my family. It kind of saddens me to see people, especially all those salarymen, slugging away at jobs they don’t enjoy, just because it’s considered the “norm”.

Motivating my readers

Earning a sufficient income on the internet is difficult, but you don’t need to suddenly quit your job and throw yourself into it. Set yourself tiny goals to begin with, such as $5 a month, $10 a month, and go from there. I remember how excited I was when I put ads on my site and earned 11 cents! Everyone’s reaction was “Big deal… 11 cents… Who cares?”, but to me, I had made money on the internet and I wanted more than anything to see that figure grow and grow.

If you need anymore motivation, have a read of my all-time favorite Steve Pavlina article, 10 Reasons You Should Never Get a Job. And remember, money does grow on tress, you just have to plant them yourself! πŸ™‚

19 comments

  1. Neil Duckett

    Interesting read Nick, i didn’t realise ‘the internet’ was your bread and butter income. I think you should expand on this sort of post and document more of your online earning strategies / sites / anything within this area.

    I gave up on reading John Chow as it was all the same, day in day out and the majority of the readers bored me with their sheep like nature, trying to get rich with a terrible looking blogspot account!

    It’s an intersting topic indeed, but hearing about people making it through niches OTHER than MMOL is the best.

    • Nick Ramsay

      John Chow was at his best in late 2006 and I learned a lot from him, but like you, I had pretty much stopped reading his blog by mid-2007 for the same reasons you give. Watching his monthly income grow is still quite addictive though, so I still pop over there once a month to see how he’s doing.

      Maybe I could start a mini project and report every stage of its development here. That could be fun to do.

  2. Shane

    Nick I think that the leap that you have taken is very brave – I applaud you and wish you much success!

    I too am trying to figure out this making money and making a name for yourself online thing out so that my family can have a better quality of life and I can spend more time with my hubby as he pursues his transient career path (which is his passion and pays most of our bills). For seven years I worked full time while he worked thousands of miles and an ocean away from me for most of the year. I am trying to make sure that never happens again!

    Like Neil, I would love to hear more about your strategies and the pros and cons associated with a career online.

    • Nick Ramsay

      Well it’s certainly possible Shane, and the comments here have encouraged me to be a little bit more forthcoming about what I do and how I do it. As I just said in my reply to Neil’s comment, I’ll think about documenting the process of building a money-making website from the ground up.

  3. ChrisG

    Great article Nick, and good timing. I have just started brainstorming ideas for a website that would have ads and aim to earn some money. As you suggest, I will be starting with small goals.

    The choice is now whether I try to find my own niche or do something that has already been done but do it better. I’d prefer to do my own thing so I have a lot of thinking to do…

    • Nick Ramsay

      If there’s a topic on your mind that you have a burning passion to turn into a website, go with that. One of the keys to building a successful website is promotion, and it’s much easier to promote something in blog comments and forums if you love and are knowledgeable about the topic of your website.

      I think I’m going to have to write a series with an example site. Stay tuned!

  4. Shelley

    That’s really great that you can spend so much time with the family and still be the breadwinner. When I visited Japan I was amazed at how many men were returning from work well into the night and eating their dinner on the train home, so maybe you can teach them a thing or two. Admittedly I often work 9-10 hours a day so maybe I can learn too! I like the idea of sitting in front of my computer in my pyjamas!!

    By the way – that’s a great photo of you and Rikuto – although I don’t know who’s enjoying the swing more……………

    • Nick Ramsay

      The Japanese do tend to overwork, and they make English teachers look really lazy! I found teaching was still too time-consuming for me, so I’m definitely enjoying my new lifestyle.

      I’m enjoying the swing more than Rikuto… I sometimes leave him at home so I can have it all to myself! πŸ˜‰

  5. Mum

    Join the club Nick. I too spend my days doing what I want. Mind you I am a senior Citizen. Lets hope you can keep up with the bills.

  6. Steve

    Have you segment in your internet lifestyle where you haven’t left the house for three days straight? It happens.

  7. Winnie

    Working online at home is such a gift for most people. I hope my husband could do this kind of job too as I want to have more time together with him.

  8. Neil Duckett

    O.K, you’ve inspired me to get a few other projects back on track. One i think has a lot of promise and i was in the top 5 or 6 on google for the search term. I didn’t have it set up correctly before but now i have.

    Will keep you posted but it’s back on track as of today!

  9. Mike

    That’s pretty cool Nick. Id be quite happy if I could make something as useful as your websites are. Alas, MichaelMcKinlay.com just isnt seeing the traffic it used to…

  10. Keith

    Keep the appreciation of the small things in life (Which are usually taken for granted) and you will do fine Nick. Spending more time with my wife has become my goal and thankfully we are both doing what we want and in a round about way, you were my inspiration to some extent!

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