A Day In The Life Of An Online Entrepreneur

This was an email I sent to my mailing list that I’d like to share with you.

The thing that originally attracted me to marketing, email and copywriting was the dream of “passive income.”

I loved the idea of creating products and setting up automated email sequences that would increase my income and give me more free time.

So how close to that dream is my current daily reality? inquires marketer-turned-software developer Osman:

By the way i just wonder sometimes….. what’s your day to day work routine like? I know you work for Simple Programmer… but i assume the major chunk of work would be happening during your email courses launch right? But what do you do when you’re not working on email courses?
Just trying to get an idea of what a day in the life of a successful online entrepreneur looks like 🙂

There’s always a tradeoff when you’re running your own business between investing more today for bigger returns tomorrow.

Right now I’m leaning toward the “investing” side of that equation.

My business partner John and I have aggressive growth plans for the business — we have our sights set on 7-figures in the next couple of years.

Because of that I don’t (yet) live the “wake up, write an email and go play golf” lifestyle that some new entrepreneurs aspire to.

And in reality, email and copywriting are just a sliver of what I do at Simple Programmer,

My official title is “Director of Marketing and Advertising Partnerships.”

Basically the division of labor is:

John does most of the “content creation,” stuff like YouTube videos to generate new traffic, and creating new products for us to sell (books, video courses, etc.). He also does a lot of administrative work, like hiring contractors.

My job is to generate revenue from the audience we’re building.

Part of that is basic conversion stuff — creating landing pages and popups to grow the email list, writing emails and copy to sell the products John creates.

I also spend a lot of time researching and testing new product ideas.

And lately, I’m focusing on finding corporate sponsors who are interested in reaching an eager audience of software developers — that’s the “advertising partnerships” part of my title.

Here’s how a typical day might go for me right now:

I walk my oldest to the bus stop for kindergarten. When I get back to my desk, usually I’ll zip through my inbox and take care of any quick replies, then I check yesterday’s sales numbers and a few key metrics in Google Analytics.

After that I’ll buckle down and write an email for this list. I don’t make a lot of money from this — I do it because it keeps me sharp and because I enjoy interacting with subscribers like you.

Then I’ll roll into writing an email for Simple Programmer. Lately I’m doing near-daily broadcast emails to the list to measure interest in different topics — laying some groundwork for our next major product launch.

When I’m done with my daily emails, I’ll move on to one of several longer-term projects.

Usually we have 3–5 of these cooking at any given time.

Lately it’s gotten a little crazy — I told John last week that I feel like I’m reaching “terminal velocity” with how many different projects I can juggle.

The big projects that I’m working on right now include:

– Launching John’s new book, The Complete Software Developer’s Career Guide. Slated for this July. We have the ambitious goal here of pulling off the biggest launch of any software development book ever — I believe we can do it.

I’ve dedicated time over the past 3 months to reviewing the book, running a “beta reader” program to collect feedback, creating a landing page, testing different covers… It’s a lot of work.

– Landing new sponsorships. For the past month I’ve been putting together a semi-automated, high-touch sales funnel to find companies willing to spend several thousand dollars a month for access to our audience.

– Testing Facebook advertising (again). This started as part of the book project — I was testing different cover designs, and I was shocked to see how well the ads were working. I’ve played with Facebook unsuccessfully in the past, but I’m cautiously optimistic that I can get it working now. If so, it could be a game changer for us.

– Launching our latest course (a “how to learn JavaScript” product) and building an evergreen funnel.

– Planning out and writing a new email course to promote an affiliate product.

Definitely plenty to keep me busy.

One thing I’ve gotten *much* better about though is setting boundaries around all of this so it doesn’t gobble up all my time.

It’s pure self-defense — one “curse” of being an entrepreneur is that your brain will happily generate 10X more great ideas than you’ll ever have time to execute.

I put a “hard stop” on my workday around 4:30 p.m., which leaves me time to work out and spend some time with my family.

So I haven’t taken up golf yet, or started sleeping until 9:30 a.m.

My schedule is full — but relaxed.

And I know I’m building something that I’ll own for many years though, a business that’s literally changing people’s lives.

And that’s immensely satisfying.

Here’s a throwback to my painful, frustrating experiences in generating passive income.


Originally published at joshuaearl.com on May 16, 2017.