An Online Business is the Solution to Millennial Debt. Here’s Why.
You have student debt (it’s part of life), credit card debt (but it was on sale), want to escape your job to travel the world (Thailand, please) and retirement (who cares about retirement?). You are twenty-three. You’ve got plenty of time to figure that out. Right?
It’s not a secret that millennials aren’t thriving in the corporate workplace, are concerned with debt and aren’t saving for retirement.
Young people are dropping out of college under the weight of student loans and looking for alternatives. The most popular options are 1) traveling the world and 2) blogging. But these things aren’t actually helping them prepare for any fulfilling career, reducing their debt or saving their money toward the future.
While I’m a huge advocate for what traveling and seeing the world can do for a young person, the escape from responsibility for your life is temporary. Those loans aren’t going anywhere. Some people, while traveling are trying their hand at travel blogging. It’s a noble trade but they are generally making just enough side cash to pay their way around the world. These folks are moving in the right direction but are missing the real opportunity by just a smidge.
Traveling may clear your head, and blogging might make you some spending cash but the real solution to eliminating your student debt and living life on your terms is eliminating your debts via an online business.
WAIT? WHAT’S THE DIFFERENT BETWEEN BLOGGING AND ONLINE BUSINESS?
A SUBTLE BUT VERY IMPORTANT MENTAL SHIFT, YOUNG PADAWAN.
Let’s start with the main differences.
A blog is something that can be monetized and actually monetized fairly substantially. But the majority of blogs monetized this way are cluttery, unfocused and spammy looking because the way to monetize a blog is primarily done through banner ads, affiliate links and selling ad space.
An online business is monetized differently. An online business offers a product or service, uses ad space minimally, intentionally or not at all and is something that people generally upon hearing the term will take more seriously.
Because really, what sounds better: “I’m a blogger” or “I run an online business” ? I think we all know which one sounds more legitimate.
Do online businesses have a blog? They can! And they probably should. Blogs are a great tool to build trust with an audience about a product or service. It’s also a place to provide pure value and share updates about the business with people. Starting with an online business generally requires you to get start selling one thing at a time. Perhaps you start with a book, a course, a service and then a premium package. This process forces you to narrow your focus in on a niche and an niche product. It’s not a secret in the online world that niche blogs and businesses do best.
An online business is set up differently than a blog. An online business is optimized to grow and prepped to be scalable, meaning it can grow from just an online presence to even a brick and mortar store or office if that’s what you wanted to do.
Again, it has to do with that mentality shift.
With blogging you aren’t generally trying to sell anything. With an online business, it makes sense that you would sell something.
Can you still use affiliate links in an online business? Of course, but again, it will look different than it would on a traditional blog. Gone are the days when you could slap up an affiliate link in your side bar and expect the dollars to come rolling in. Customers and clients want to be educated and trust that you know this product or person that you are advocating for. Bloggers are already networking. Online business owners are taking that same skill and presenting the result of it in a different, more professional way.
Can you still sell ad space in an online business? Sure! But online businesses set a higher standard for the folks they associate with because they see their online efforts as more than just a blog. They have a brand and a reputation to build and protect. That kind of long term mentality just doesn’t come with blogging. Running an online business instead of blog will grow you to see opportunities in a different light. Bloggers don’t see the same opportunities as someone who calls themselves an entrepreneur might. The mental shift from blogger to business owner makes all the difference in helping empower someone to get serious about making money online. There is a shift in perspective from short term decision making to long-term decision making.
There is a shift in the weight of ownership.
People can start 7 blogs and never feel bad for abandoning it. To abandon a business, even a sole proprietorship, causes people to pause and consider whether or not they should try to stick it out a little longer. A lot of the online success you see today is from people who have been active consistently since 2008 or later. These people were highly motivated by job loss or economic downturn. They seized an opportunity.
I see another opportunity for millennials if they are willing to seize it. If they do, they can pay down their student debt and start saving for the future. The blogging world is crowded but the online business world still has room to flex and stretch. It won’t be this way for too much longer.
One of the wonderful things about online side businesses is that you can make it as location independent as you like. You don’t have to give up traveling the world if that’s still something you want to do while in your 20s. Believe me, it’s worth it. But you don’t even have to give up your day job to start tackling your debt. You can start this on the side and keep it on the side unless you fall in love with it and decide to go full time.
It might be a hard, hustling 2-3 years for some of you to be completely free from student loans. But millennials are all about living life on their terms. Freedom from debt, and location independent work to live your life on your terms is truly more valuable than a temporary appearance of freedom from a cubicle or dorm room.
Don’t miss the opportunity. Shift your perspective and start a side business today to start tackling that student debt. You won’t regret your freedom.