Fifteen years ago, when I was eighteen years old, I founded several forums on the internet. Back then, a forum was as vibrant a community as today’s Facebook group and Discord channels.
I didn’t know why I wanted to do it. Maybe it was the innate sense of community and belonging that burns within any human being? Perhaps I wanted to feel what it was like to surround yourself with a community that you build in your own two hands? Whatever it was — it wasn’t about making money online back then.
I was passionate about creating a forum about StarCraft, the game I used to play all the time as a teen. I wanted to share hand-made campaigns, story theories about Kerrigan — The Queen of Blades — and much more. I wanted to be heard — something I believe you can relate to.
All of this was happening around 2005–2006. Facebook was founded in 2004, but we hadn’t heard anything about it until around 2007 here in Israel. I don’t know when Facebook Groups became a thing, but forums started to die out once they did.
The only forum-like community that still holds strong today as of 2020 is Reddit.
Times went by, and I accumulated debt in extreme amounts because financial education was missing from my life. My parents always struggled with money, so it wasn’t a surprise that they couldn’t pass on to their children how to manage it better.
I never went poor, but my parents always struggled with debt, and they both only had their day jobs. They never thought about opening a side-hustle. Even today, when I suggest to my amazing mom that I should start a YouTube channel for her baking and cooking, she declines.
Over the last year or so, I struggled a lot with money. I had a roof over my head, thanks to my parents. Still, I did want to do the simple things in life, like go to sleep peacefully without thinking about my bank account or opening the app in the middle of the night.
This behavior also affected my romantic relationships. I hid my financial status from a potential partner since I didn’t want her to look down on me. In retrospect, she didn’t care. It just didn’t work between us for other reasons.
Some of you might know what it’s like to be 33 years old and live at your parents’ house. I love my parents with all my heart, but I sometimes need distance between them and me. It’s rough hearing my dad preach to me every day about how he wants me to settle down with a family and bring him a little grandchild.
I sometimes want to yell, “do you think I don’t want to?!” but I think better of it. This is my over-seventy old dad. He’s from a different time.
I want to fix the mistakes I made. It’s baffling to me every time how easy it is to accumulate debt and how excruciatingly painful it is to get out of it.
And I tried. Oh, I tried many ways to get out of debt and make money online. Sometimes I increased my debt by paying for ineffective advertising because I thought just a little more traffic would do it.
When I was younger, I followed my passion, but it didn’t serve anyone. Nobody needed another forum. They already had better, fuller communities than mine. What need was I fulfilling for them? None. I only filled my own desires.
In my older years, I followed my need to get out of debt. I advertised stuff that I thought would get me out of debt. They didn’t. I created courses about what I thought people wanted instead of talking to them and figuring out their needs and wants through deep conversation.
And above all, I wasn’t consistent with any of these efforts. The oldest blog I can remember opening was Alive2Play, a gaming news site I opened with some friends and volunteers. It didn’t take off, but it did teach me a lot about publishing.
Suppose I would have published one thoughtful, helpful piece every week on Alive2Play since January 13th, 2011. In that case, I would have been in a completely different place in life now. That’s over 500 pieces of content that people would have searched for on Google over the years.
But what’s done is done. I can only look forward to the future. Let’s talk about what that would look like.
The pieces I enjoy the most writing are about TV Shows I love, Video Games I played, books I read, and so on. But it can’t just be something random that made me happy.
Remember the intersection between passion and need. What can I create that stands on that intersection? What can be fun to make but also useful to potential readers at the same time?
It would be reviews, thought pieces, lore theories, perhaps even some kind of podcasts in my field. But I would start with reviews. My article about Mass Effect Legendary was such fun to write! And even though this is a very saturated niche, there’s always room for another unique voice. I’m not afraid to try.
And how to intersect this with my need? I would include no more than a couple of links in the article for various related products related to the article’s topic (like the game it talks about) with an affiliate link that might give me a small commission with no extra cost to you. That might bring in a few dollars once I have more readers. And regardless of that, if you like what I create, you can support my creative journey by becoming a paid supporter.
In terms of making money, I have my Etsy store that’s making me a few dollars in profit a month. It’s nothing crazy at the moment and certainly not at the level which allows me to quit my job, but still. I will keep investing and adding more designs. One day, one of them will go viral. In the meantime, I see slow growth.
This is the direction I’m going to take this blog from now on. I want to create content that’s fun for me but also helpful to you.
If you want to discuss it, please feel free to join our telegram channel, where I host a community group where we can talk to each other and comment on the pieces. Telegram allows us to have up to 200k members in one group. It will enable the discussion to have a context. Even if people talk to each other, the discussion can still be anchored about a subject and not get lost in a flood of messages like in WhatsApp groups.
Thank you for reading, don’t forget to subscribe to my email list if you want to receive these in your inbox. Have any questions or comments? Comment them below or, better yet, comment them on our Telegram group. Talk soon again!
Originally published at https://thegeekwriter.com on November 16, 2020.