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Oct 27, 2017 marks my 10 year anniversary of working online. Ten years from now, on this day I started looking for ways to build a website. I started with no money or knowledge and was able to make a career in this field.
My reason for writing this look back:
10 years of working online is nothing to be bragged about. I wanted to share my story for me to read and reflect on what I have done. It should also be an inspirational post to all of those who are reading and in a tough situation right now.
How was the internet like in Mirpur, Dhaka during 2007?
I still vividly remember the day 27th October 2007 when I got connected to the home broadband internet.
My computer setup was like this:
Intel Celeron 1.6 GHz
128 MB of SD ram
Broadband Speed: 32 kbps (4 KB download speed)
Apart from the painfully slow internet speed, the broadband back then was too unreliable. It would stop working all the time. The current broadband is so advance, even here in Habiganj, it won’t go down at all.
I took internet services from The NetHeads in Kazipara. They had really good support staff. This is my chance to give a shout out. If you are living in Kazipara Mirpur area in Dhaka, please contact The NetHeads for broadband connection.
I also had to buy a lan card to connect the Ethernet port.
The monthly charge for the internet was 800 Taka. For me back when I was not earning anything, the 800 taka (about $10) was a burden every month.
Anyways it was fun, and exciting times. It was the time of the Yahoo messenger. After having fun with Google and Yahoo messenger, during the night I sat down and searched the internet for ways to make a free website.
So here are some of the highlights, including both success and failure of my 10 year run:
Late 2007: DhakaSale
I found this service called Freewebs, where I created my first internet site. It was called DhakaSale, a buy and sell website. Something similar to clickbd.com. But I did not had much coding skills or money for server, so I just used a personal website format and turned into a product listing site.
The main business model was to buy electronic stuff for cheap and then put them online. The only marketing I did was word of mouth. Not many people in my area used the internet so website traffic was close to nil.
You can check some of my early graphic design work and flash work on that site:
Building a site for my own and promoting it, already attracted a few people back then who were interested to have a website done from me. This venture did not last long, maybe 3 months till new year 2008 when I learnt more about blogging. I would not call this project a failure, it was an important stepping stone towards the work I was about to do.
You can check out the site DhakaSale over here. If you look at the bottom of that site you will see this ticker. It’s also counting my online career.
Early 2008: Blog Success
31st December 2007, on new years eve I learnt about blogging. It was still unclear to me, but I did understand it was about writing. Back then I was working in an MLM company (Destiny 2000 Ltd) and I was absorbing all the motivational things I learned over there. I created a blog on free blogger platform: blog-success.blogspot.com. I named it “The Blog About Success.” I was heavily involved into blogging, reading tips and then writing about 2-3 blog posts a day.
This blog helped me network with many good people on facebook; I am still friends with many of them until this day. I did not saw much activity with this blog, but I did learnt a LOT about blogging and internet marketing. I made my first few dollars online with this blog via Google Adsense and writing paid reviews.
By mid 2008, I have earned my first dollar and successfully received it in Bangladesh. I was itching to write about blogging tips. I would call blog-success a success, since I made many connections, made money from a free platform blog.
Mid 2008: BlogKori
After 6 months of blogging, I wanted to share blogging tips and info. But I could not do that on my blog-success blog, so I came up with a new blog idea: blogkori. I shared the idea with another blogger friend, the owner of Gamers World Bangladesh, and he liked it. He helped me purchase the blogkori.com domain name.
The original idea was to write 20 posts about blogging tips and have it sit there. It attracted a lot of readers both from Bangladesh and abroad. I kept writing on this blog for a long time. Over the years I got involved into other projects and freelancing so I had neglected it for many years. I would call BlogKori a success since it helped me make money, got connections and a name for myself in the internet marketing field.
2009: Freelancing & Odesk
By 2009 I started working as a freelance web designer at Odesk. It was hard in the beginning but it worked out well for me. I worked on so many projects and made some good money and a name for myself as a designer. I used WordPress to build websites.
Freelancing helped me get so much financial freedom. I also blogged about freelancing in BlogKori. If I remember, I was one of the first few people in Bangldesh to blog about freelancing opportunities. I worked entirely on odesk from 2009-2012 or so. For me, freelancing was a success and I still work as a freelancer.
2010: ThesisThemeDesign & TTD.bz
I created a website to offer my thesis theme website design services. It got lots of new clients from the internet. This way I was able to work with my clients directly. I took payment using Payoneer payment service and 2checkout. I always got new clients coming to my online shop one after another.
Things turned bad when I tried to rebrand the business with a short domain TTD.bz. I spent a lot of money for the new design and promotion.
It did not helped me win new clients or make an impact. As a result I had to shift back to ThesisThemeDesign again after a year or two.
I wanted to start a completely new company for my web design services. I renamed everything to SevenBranding. I made a logo, promotional videos, business cards, vanity phone number etc. It did not worked out because I had no plan to attract clients for my new ventures. Seven Branding was a complete disaster.
I learned a hard lesson: don’t waste your money for the shiny things like business cards, logo, website, company formation etc. Get your first few customers then take it from there.
I started yet another venture: CelebritySEO. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) services for celebrities. I then focused on another sub niche, musicians.
Again it was a disaster for two reasons: 1. I don’t do SEO, 2. Musicians don’t need SEO related services. If it was something like this, web design for musicians, then I may have succeeded. So the result was more money and time wasted, definitely a failure!
2013: BlogKori Academy & Udemy
I launched a membership site to teach video lessons about WordPress and web design. I managed to make a few sales but it was not what I expected. It was hard to keep up with my promises, and I ended up quitting it altogether. A lack of students makes it harder to stay focused.
I later published some of the videos on Udemy and it was good. The platform took care of the marketing and sales. With Udemy I still get new students enrolling. So yes BKA was a failure but it opened a new door for online teaching.
A part of my blogkori readers followed my blogs because of me sharing internet money making opportunities. So I decided to serve to that audience segment. I created a new blog called OnlineEarningKing. I setup various affiliate accounts and adsense to that blog. The goal was to help people in India and Bangladesh to make money online while still making money with the site.
I spent around 2-3 years working on the site with a total of 30 articles was posted on the site. So far the results were satisfactory. I made good money from affiliates and adsense ads. I then sold that website when I no longer wanted to work on the site. So this project was a success.
2016: Tamal Anwar’s Academy
In 2016 I moved to Habiganj town in Sylhet. Here I started a school to teach web design. The school is still going on so can’t say much about the the results but so far so good. I got some local students and I enjoy teaching and interacting with them on a regular basis.
Working online could be lonely with no place to go and nobody to talk to, but having a physical office lets me go out get some air and lecture people.
To summarize it all: I am doing what I wanted to do. I achieved the dreams of my younger self. I did not had to take a job, I am working for myself. Yes some of my ventures failed, but that’s the price you pay to play.
It was just the beginning..
I did not do anything remarkable in my first 10 years, it was just scratching the surface. I did not had any mentor, I learned it all by myself. I have taken this online profession as a career, and for many careers out there, 10 year is just the warm up.
My plans for the coming years:
- I will pursue my career in web design and development
- I will pursue a second career in acting & film making
- Will continue writing in BlogKori (the topic of this blog may change)
What will I do differently this time?
- I will get a mentor to help me advance in my career
- Will not work on too many things/projects
- Take care of my mental and physical health
Looking forward to the next 10 years. I will write about that in this blog, so stay tuned!