Building Your Virtual Empire

What exactly is a virtual empire? For some of us, it means nothing. Our virtual existance is confined to email, instant messaging, and the occasional blog comments. For others, your virtual existance is who you are.. its a way of life. For those, the concept of a virtual empire is an extremely important one.

A virtual empire is the summary of your virtual existance.. your accomplishments, your recognitions, your insight, and your discoveries. Its who you are.

For those who choose to accept the internet as a mere pastime or, perhaps, simply a tool for communication, there are only a few basic things to consider. First and foremost..

Do you have a website?

If so, what’s the purpose? Why did you create it? What inspired you to have your own presence on the internet? Do you update it? Do you care about it? Does anyone else?

If not, do you need one? Is it something you’d like to have but, for whatever reasons, you think is beyond your reach? Is it something you’re going to have, but have just been putting off? Or is it something that’s never really meant anything to you?

For me, a website is like a piece of real estate. You begin by purchasing a domain and setting up an empty site. That’s your undeveloped plot of land. There are millions of things you could do it with.. You could build yourself a home. It could be an incredible home of the future or a lowly cottage, a vacation home or a home for the in-laws. You could build an office.. a marketplace.. a skyscraper.. The possibilities are endless :).

Each website that you have is part of your empire. Now.. for those of you who profess to make a living off of the internet, or would perhaps like to one day.. here’s something very important to understand..

You can’t have too many websites.

You really can’t. Each website is yet another chance you have of making a difference, whether it be in your contributions to the world, your ways of communication, or even your wallet.

Take your websites seriously..

Don’t start one unless you have a CLEAR way of finishing it. Create a gameplan from the beginning.. Think about why you’re creating it, what you want to accomplish. What service will your website provide? If you plan to make money through it, how? And very importantly.. will people CARE about your site?

Don’t just assume that because you have a great idea and you know you could turn it into a great website that others will share your opinion. There are thousands of sites out there that no one, except the owner, will ever care about.. and even that won’t last long.

Communities are a great example of this.. someone has what they feel is an awesome idea and they decide that they want to connect with everyone else who thinks so. They KNOW those people are out there, so, loaded with enthusiasm and optimism, they launch their website. They’re filled with joy and sit back, waiting for that magical moment when their community is overflowing with activity.

..That moment never comes on its own.

Building your website is ONLY the beginning. That’s why its so very important, from the very first step, to know exactly why you’re creating each site. Sure, halfway through an opportunity might come up and you could go in a completely different direction.. and that’s great. Don’t count on it though, be prepared :).

Building a successful website takes a lot of hard work.. and let me tell you.. its worth every moment of it. A website allows you to multiply your presence like nothing else on earth. There’s no physical store in the world that could handle 2 million people checking out at the same time. Granted.. there aren’t many websites that could either.. but the potential is there ; ). A website runs 24/7.. it can share your message and make you money while you sleep.. that’s kinda tough to beat.

So, are you ready to start building your own virtual empire? If not, that’s alright. It takes a lot of committment and a willingness to learn. Its not for everyone. Some websites you create won’t ever do a darn thing for you. A community you might start may end up being a total flop.. If you want to succeed, though, you pick up from that experience and take it with you. Learn from it and move on.

If you are ready.. stick around : ). I’m at the very beginning stages of building my own empire. I’ve started with my own personal website and I’m slowly moving into other sites. I’ll be showing you guys some of my work over the next few weeks and months to give you an idea of what’s involved.. and I encourage you to get started. Don’t know where to start? Or perhaps you do but you’re stuck in the ideas phase? My best advise to you would be to spend more time around people who are out there doing what you want to do. Help them out in anyway you can, learn from them. See if you can come up with ways to make their lives easier and, in exchange, they can teach you some of what they know.

That right there has been an invaluble tip for me.. I’ve gone out and offered my time to people and, in exchange, they’ve shared information that would have taken me years to get on my own. Don’t just ask them for ways to help, come up with something on your own, offer something specific.. it makes a difference and it shows that you’re truly willing to learn : ).

Alright, that’s enough from me.. its time for BED! Goodnight World! I look forward to your comments ; ).

-Jonathan Wold

Highlight of my day:

An INCREDIBLE Youthcove Brainstorm Session! Huge thanks to all who attended!

4 thoughts on “Building Your Virtual Empire

  1. Brian Watkins

    I’m at the very beginning of building my internet empire. My personal site -> should be up some time Tuesday 4-19-05. I’ve done such things as post in forums, comment on blogs like this, email, chat, and participated in groups like Folding @ Home & Seti. But now I’m ready to step it up a notch and launch my personal site. I have a lot of big plans for it later this year but for now I’ll have a basic presence. Look for my new personal residence Tuesday! :)

    Now about online vs. offline…If you max out all the current real potential of an online vs. an offline empire, I still think right now the offline one would be more valuable. Looking at the mediums the masses of people use and fill brain-influence space with, offline beats online in my opinion. Look at almost all the hollywood & sports celebrities. The influence of their empires mainly exist offline. They are known by so so many more people than people who have built the biggest online empires. Now I do believe a tipping point is coming, especially with internet technology merging with a lot of other technologies and more people getting online and doing stuff with greater ease. Also things like CSS and other computer code technologies where computer content will be developed to work on many mediums. When will an equally fully developed online presence be worth as much as an offline? Maybe 10-30 years? Your guess is as good as mine. I do think that a small online empire may be worth more than a small offline empire right now in a lot of situations. But when talking on a really big scale (which I love to do) I think offline still dominates.

    So if you are starting out it may be best to put more effort into online at first, then leverage that identity into offline mediums and networks and then grow both as you are exploding!

    Internet will dominate EVERYTHING at some point in the future though!

    Brian Watkins

  2. James Coombs

    Great post Jonathan!

    I kinda agree with what Brian is saying, but at the same time I am sure that the best solution is to have both the offline and the online empire. Have them integrated, seamlessly together to create an empire that is just about everywhere people look.

    Remember that companies that have huge presences online, like dell and Amazon, still have huge infrastructure offline to support them, and without which the online empire wouldn’t work.

    – James

  3. Anonymous

    Brain makes a good point.

    But wait, whats that I hear? Breaking news?

    The Wall Street Journal recently announced that their online subscription service is now making more profit than their print service, despite having 12 times less revenue.

    That’s the sound of change.

    – Leon

  4. Mitch

    Great new way of looking at the way things are here in the Online world. Got to say it has honestly got me thinking about how my own little virtual empire is doing.


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