My dream has always been about freedom.
When I was 18, I was recruited to the Israeli Defense Forces as part of my mandatory army service here in Israel.
I remember being depressed about being away from home and in a very hostile environment. And when I say hostile, I don't mean how people treat you; I understood what the army was. I mean in the sense that I felt in genuine danger. On my first weekend staying at the base, a bomb exploded one kilometer away from where my squadmates and I were standing in line, waiting to get into the dining hall.
Fast forward to a few years later. While in the army, you don't get an average salary for your efforts since it's mandatory. Back then, I got the equivalent of a hundred dollars a month. And while I was living with my parents, I didn't get financial aid from them for anything. So, naturally, I completed my army service with a small credit card debt without the proper financial education on how to pay it back.
The lack of money was the second thing constricting my freedom.
Even now, in my thirties, a part of me still wants to be free of the need to work a day job.
And so, that's what I've been doing for more than a decade.
At first, I was stupid about it. I tried to do affiliate marketing in 2010 without even realizing what it was. And I spent even more money for PLR books that I could have registered to get for free or for very little than I actually got them for.
Everybody must learn that money is an exchange of value at some point. I didn't realize it back then, and without any experience in marketing or finance, who could blame me?
So, in 2011, when I realized that affiliate marketing wasn't going to work for me, and anybody who was going to teach me how to do it would charge a lot of money, I decided to pivot towards content creation about my favorite topic in the world: Video games.
That's when I opened Alive2Play - my first big boy news site.
Alive2Play didn't take off as I wanted, but the experience showed me what was possible. I gathered a group of ten volunteers from across the web, and we wrote articles online. It was fun while it lasted, but we never made any money. And so, people needed to leave and do something materially meaningful with their lives, like get a job or start college.
In 2012 I started my college journey as well. By 2013 I was too busy with school that Alive2Play had to be put to rest. I still own the domain.
Between 2013 and 2018, content creation took a little of a backseat as I was working my way through college to learn Computer Science and get a job in the industry.
In Feb. 2019, I discovered Medium, which changed my perspective on Content Creation. The Medium Partner Program seemed like a dream come true. Publish articles and get money for claps. In my mind, it was always like, "okay, I just need to write something awesome." I never thought about how to game the system.
The problem was that, like all of my endeavors, I was too inconsistent. And I was also pretty bad at writing stories. For all my writing experiences, English is still my second language, and Grammarly confirmed I still have a long way to go.
And so, during my entire time on Medium, I managed to get the coveted $100 month only once. And in late 2021, I decided to stop focusing on Medium.
Fast forward to 2020. When the Pandemic hit, it rekindled my desire to get another source of income. And so, for my 33rd birthday, I gave myself the gift of a YouTube channel.
Since then, out of all my efforts to make money online, YouTube seems to be the only consistent thing. I can already say I made on YouTube in three months since getting monetized more than I ever made on Medium.
In 2020 I also started an Etsy shop. It went well but was a little too expensive for my pocket. I'm still figuring out the lessons from my time on Etsy. Currently, my shop is on an indefinite vacation.
And that's pretty much it. As you can see, I had a lot of experiences doing content online. I will write on many of them here on this blog!
I hope you enjoy it!
P.S. You can reach me anytime at hello[at]theorencohen.com