Overcoming Your Cyberspace Fears:

Written By: Marc McDonald

With all the doom and gloom surrounding the Dot
Com meltdown over the past year, it seems that
fear has replaced optimism for many people who are
trying to make a living in cyberspace.

No doubt, there is quite a bit to be pessimistic about
in today’s post-Web stock mania crash environment.
But on the other hand, a lot of the fears and anxieties
that I often see expressed by Webmasters are often
overblown and are not rooted in reality.
The fact is: it’s a big enough challenge these days
building a successful site, without burdening yourself
with unreasonable worries.
Here are some of the more common fears that I’ve encountered:

1. “The party’s over and I arrived too late to stake my
claim in cyberspace.”
Reality: It’s true that the heady days of easy money and
instant Dot Com millionaires are behind us, (at least for now).
But the fact is, the Web is still a young medium and it still
has enormous potential that hasn’t even begun to be tapped
out yet.
This may be hard to believe—especially given the enormous
negative publicity surrounding the collapse of many previously
high-flying Dot Com companies.

However, what is overlooked by many gloomy media reports is that
the Web itself is alive and well. Millions of new Web sites
continue to emerge every month. And overall traffic for the
Web continues to rise.
The fact is, without exception, the disgraced Dot Coms that
crashed and burned were companies that really didn’t have
solid business plans for profitability.

In reality, the only reason their stock prices soared in the
first place was a combination of easy money, recklessness,
greed and an absurd temporary mania for all things Net-related.

However, it’s important to separate that fiasco from the realities of
the Web today. The fact remains: if you have a good idea, and a solid
business plan for a Web site—and you’re willing to work hard—then
opportunities for success still abound in cyberspace.

2. “I’m not a tech person. Building a Web site and making
it successful requires complex skills that I don’t have.”

Reality: I hear this particular fear expressed quite a bit by people who
would love to set up shop on the Web and earn a living in cyberspace.
And I think this fear is greatly overblown.
Don’t fool yourself: the fact is, setting up a Web site is
a fairly easy task….in fact, you’ll find that your biggest
challenge is not building a site, but drawing visitors.

And as far as drawing visitors goes, you really don’t have to
be a Web guru or a tech person to achieve this. We’re
not talking about rocket science here—simply relentlessly
doing the basics and doing them well: making your site a compelling
and useful resource that people will bookmark; learning about the
search engines; working out linkbacks with other sites, etc.

Building a successful Web site doesn’t necessarily have to involve
any complex, specialized skills.
Rather, it involves a series of repetitive (and admittedly sometimes
tedious) steps, over and over again. It’s a task that any
determined and focused person can achieve.

Incidentally, HTML (the coding used to create sites) is really not hard to
master. And in any case, there are many Web editing programs
around that will write the coding for you.

3. “Since the IPO pipeline dried up, I’m don’t think
I’ll ever get a shot at becoming a Dot Com millionaire.”

Reality: this widespread fear, of course, is grounded in bursting
of the Dot Com stock bubble over the past year.
But consider this fact: somewhere out there in the vast world of
cyberspace is a person who only today started up his first Web site.
Five years from now, that person will be a millionaire.
Will that person be you?
Odds are, no. But the fact is, the Web remains a wonderful opportunity
to earn a living. If you’re only looking to get rich, you have an
unrealistic view. But if you work hard and you have an intelligent
business plan, you will most likely succeed.

The best possible outcome, is of course, cashing in your stock options
someday in a successful IPO. But barring that, it’s still hugely
satisfying to simply earn a comfortable living from your Web site.

I’ve known a number of people who were able to quit their day jobs.
They now earn a living from the Web. They aren’t rich, but they
ARE happy. They work the hours that they choose to work. They don’t
have to get up at 7 a.m. and fight rush hour traffic to the office.
And they know that they are the sole beneficiary of the hours that
they work…not some corporate employer.
The fact is, working under these conditions is vastly more satisfying
than a day job. In fact, you’ll find that you can put in 12-hour days
and not feel burned out at all—because it’s all for you.
And it’s a quite reasonable goal to aspire toward.

The reality is that, although the Dot Com bubble has collapsed, the
dream remains alive and well for many thousands of Webmasters.

If you have a Web site, or are thinking of starting one, then be
prepared to work hard to meet the many challenges you’ll face. And you
should know at the outset that it’s counter-productive to have
unreasonable expectations.
But, on the other hand, you shouldn’t burden yourself with unreasonable
and exaggerated fears and anxieties that simply aren’t grounded in reality.

About the Author

Marc McDonald is a former journalist and editor with the Fort
Worth Star-Telegram and the creator of FreebieDirectory.com
as well as several other popular Web sites that have received
extensive media exposure from CNN’s “Headline News,” the BBC,
Fox News, ZDTV, CBS Radio, the Washington Post, and many more.
Visit the FreebieDirectory at: http://www.freebiedirectory.com
and AAAScreenSavers at: http://www.aaascreensavers.com.

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