Is Web Monetization the Right Thing to Do?

2021 has kicked off pretty intensely for me. It’s not a rough start but a pretty busy one that seems to be feel very futile in some ways. In order for me not to get discouraged, I decided to start a new project at my other blog, Neural Market Trends.

I’m abandoning the whole machine learning/ai blog in favor of making a passive income blog. I have an audacious goal to generate $100,000 of passive income per year and I write about my strategy to get there. The plan is to use dividend investing to generate the bulk of those returns and try different monetization schemes on my blog.

My first month was ok, I made like $145 from dividends and web monetization. Although that was $145 I didn’t have to work for, I still have a long way to go to get that monthly income up to meet my lofty goal.

But I wonder, is monetization the right way to do this? After all, I have a great career in the Machine Learning space and a decent retirement nest egg put away, so why start this experiment in the first place?

That’s a question I’m meditating on and I have no answer at this time. My thoughts are that if I were able to generate passive income from my blogs (this one included), I cover my living expenses and just spend all my time writing for fun.

But that would mean I just get up and walk away from Machine Learning and AI. Would I even want to do that since I like the field? Probably not.

Then if I’m not taking a ‘take this job and shove it’ attitude then am I just being greedy? I’m not sure. I think I’m looking at this in a completely different way.

I’m approaching this experiment as a game. That’s it, a fun game. I want to see what works and what doesn’t work. I want to learn how people like John Chow and others rise to the top of the heap by being these Internet sensations.

Sure there’s a big technical aspect to this, like SEO, but what about long term growth? How do I build a community of people that end up carrying my message to the rest of the world? Now that is an interesting question.

The answer isn’t clear to me yet but I think my first step was to rebuild this site using the Ghost CMS as a test environment.

Why Ghost?

It came preconfigured on AWS Lightsail and setting it up was a snap. Ghost is a very simple but powerful dynamic CMS, nothing like Hugo. It boasts a lot of different integrations to make growing a site easier and help you monetize it.

Still I can’t get this ‘monetization’ thing out of my head. Is it such a good idea? I’m not exactly sure after reading these two Reddit posts.

The first post is about a writer that’s been writing novels at a quick pace and has gotten some good reviews on Amazon. He really hasn’t gotten rich off his novels and he feels like the marketing and other support processes are making him hate writing, something he once loved to do.

This generated reactions with one Redditor post the next link about how side hustles to generate extra cash are ok but many never want to turn their hobbies into a business.

I think I’m one of those people. I ran a consultancy for a while and it’s hard freaking work. Taxes, having multiple bosses (clients) instead of one, invoicing, etc. It was just a lot to do and I didn’t have my spare time to write, like I do now.

Conversely, this is why passive income interests me. I’m ok with putting in some work in the beginning but I want to milk that work for every penny I can get.

Effort vs Time for Passive Income

Why? So I can cover my living expenses so I can write. But wouldn’t I have to abandon Machine Learning?

Here we are again, full circle. ARGH!