numbers mean a lot to internet folk, but if you have 10 people, paying you $500 a month, you’re making $5000 a month or you have 10,000 people, paying you .50 a month you’re still making $5000 a month. which is better?

more importantly, how much time do you spend (or have to spend) with those people to pay you?

there are obviously a lot of ways to skin the cat of online business

most of the people online making money in less time are closer to having 10,000 people pay them .50, because they’ve set up a system where they need to invest very little in their direct relationship with you for your money.

their relationship may appear direct, and can be very sincere, but must reach their masses on a general level. this allows the “relationship” to be more calculated, more automatic, and more systems oriented. note: it had to be grown from small to large somehow and takes more effort early on.

it allows them to spend less consistent time working everyday yet make more or the same money and scale upward without doing everything over again. IE. they get freedom & money. no wonder copyblogger loves to talk about systems and the topic of automation is so hawt right now

people who’ve reached this stage can still connect and interact personally with some users, say in the comments section of a blog, but what we don’t realize is that this a small fraction of those buying their products, spreading their message, and paying their bills. they aren’t doing anything wrong, most of the people buy a product and never try to interact with the creator anyway. i know, i’ve experienced this on a small scale. it’s weird, but cool. it’s happening to me now, and caused this reflection.

the percentage of people you’ll get to interact with personally needs to go dramatically down if you want your sales to go way up without having to charge way more, or spend more time.

it’s ironic, but making a more automatic income online is directly at odds with having direct relationships with the people making you that income. that concept is holding some people, myself included back.

it’s funny because these things seem to drive each other apart. you build relationships, they get you lots of traffic, you make products to utilize traffic (smart), now you interact less with relationships because you have lots of traffic to utilize, now you have to care more about numbers as the best “evaluation” of your relationships because you can’t write 2 page e-mails and have phone conversations with everyone who thinks your stuff is cool and pays you for it.

note: you could always charge a lot more as a way to keep focus on relationships, but that still doesn’t scale, and puts a lot of your eggs into a few high priced baskets, not really my goal here, but i thought i’d give it lip service.

soooo…i have yet to take stock in my numbers, check them regularly or focus on driving them up, but that’s changing because i’m making more sales, and gaining more traffic and doing more reflecting like this. people buying aren’t always writing me notes, now i want to know why they are buying, or not buying.

several sales have happened where i haven’t and probably never will interact with the buyer.

woah, i’m nabbing some of that freedom and money. this is one of the goals of my online business. i go play basketball, and yet i make $100 while doing it, and make someone somewhere happy or more capable, or something good because of something i did earlier.

i keep thinking my site, or my product, or my thing isn’t ready enough to actually track numbers for, but i think it has more to do with the fact that i didn’t need to look at numbers, i knew who all my users were (more or less). i also haven’t been regularly posting new content or refreshing my pages, so i didn’t care what was getting hit. that is changing.

i like people but relationships don’t scale. it’s sad but true. this is probably why my numbers historically have been low, yet, i’m still earning decent business, have a high referral rate, and continue to close service gigs. i have less people, taking lots of time, and paying me lots.

as saturation, popularity and numbers increase, i’m spending less time with people, and so my numbers are becoming more important. the numbers become a more time-valued way to check how good my stuff is and how happy my users are. now it makes a little more sense to me why successful people obsess over their numbers so much, and shift focus to contained product type offerings.

it doesn’t mean you don’t care!

i don’t think a lot of sales and traffic means you have to care less about individual users, it’s just a fact that you can’t interact with all of them, but still need feedback. you also like having more money and more freedom. it’s cool to see this front loaded “passive” income concept come to life in various ways.

you also can’t overlook that your relationships are where the concepts and creation of products and services come from. without the relationship, you’d have no business, so while they seem to be opposites, they are both very much important, you better care very much.

i’m guessing you can take on a good number of users and still interact with most of them in some small way. i recently sent out a tweet about how the CEO should interact with his first 1,000 users with a custom e-mail. i liked it, and thought it could be mostly automated.

here’s to tipping the scales in that continued direction.

if you made this far, thanks, that post was probably hard to get through, hope you found something in the mental struggle.