Today is the release date of Halo: Reach – the latest installment in the Halo franchise for the Xbox 360 console and because of this fact I will be taking a few days off to play the game (I love setting my own hours :D). I’ve been playing Halo since the very first one was released on November 15th, 2001 for the Xbox (menu screen pictured right). My birthday is on November 16th, but in 2001 I moved it forward one day so I could have my friends over to have the first Halo party. Flash forward a few years and when I moved to Bellingham, WA to attend WWU Halo 2 was released the first quarter I was in school and subsequently I earned my very first D in a class (at the time I preferred to play Halo 2 as opposed to study). Flash forward a few more years and Halo 3 was released the day after I lost my job at Microsoft as a video game tester so I was able to play for two weeks straight before I moved onto my next job in sales and that brings us to today – Sept 14th, 2010 – the very last Halo to be released by Bungie (the creators of the series). Before you ask, yes I am a video game nerd and love playing Halo – I’m also very good at it (I’ve competed on the professional level through Major League Gaming aka MLG and even been flown out to coach a team). Since today is such a fitting occasion I want to share the story behind the creation of my online business and how I used a video game to help me build a six figure income online.
How Halo helped me start my online business:
If you’ve read my about me page than you may be familiar with this story but I want to tell you how I created an online business off of my passion for playing Halo. While I was attending Western Washington University I learned very little from the classes offered for my marketing degree which has lead to my opinion that college is a waste of time unless you just want to get a “real job” and slowly die through a 9 – 5 existence (no offense). Now because I could tell early on that the only thing my marketing degree would be good for was as a line item on a resume I decided to study less and spend more time playing Halo 2 and doing other fun stuff. While playing too much Halo 2 did lead to my first D in a class my new-found desire to do other fun stuff in school also lead me to the video editing class that started my online business.
How I used one video to launch my first successful website:
The video editing class I took in the fall is where I was offered a chance to make a video on any topic and because of my interest in the recently released Halo 2 I decided to make a video using in game footage of me pwning others that opposed me. I created my first video using a Mini DV camcorder, a VHS player and a wonky set up. This allowed me to capture only 3 hours of game footage, but it was enough to create my first video. I did some research and discovered a new method to capture video using a card installed in a PC. This allowed me to capture an endless supply of footage and after a month or two I released another Halo video in my video editing class. My classmates loved the second video and while my professor wondered if I would ever make a video unrelated to Halo (I wouldn’t) I decided to release this one on the internet. What felt like only a few days later I started to get a non stop flood of random friend requests from people telling me that they saw my video on “insert large Halo website” and wanted to be my friend. So I went to these websites and sure enough my video was racking up the views and was over 100,000 views in less than a couple weeks. This gave me the idea to create another Halo video that was even better that I could use to launch a website. I called the video “Untouchable” and released it online with an advertisement at the beginning promoting my forum GamingVidz.com (not very active now). This video has been watched well over a million times but here it is again for you to watch (along with my other Halo videos):
To prepare for the wave of traffic I created dozens of fake member accounts and posted threads where I was essentially talking to myself in an effort to make the forum appear active. The strategy worked and it helped to build a forum that at it’s peak was generating over half a million page views, but only earning $500 per month (the fact that with that much traffic I was still not even making $1,000 a month is what lead me to eventually build websites that focus on selling physical products and is how I earn over $5,000 per month with Amazon Associates right now and several thousand dollars from other sources as well). In fact, I think it’s safe to say that if it weren’t for my desire to study less and play more Halo I wouldn’t have an online business that is on track to pay me a six figure income this year. Because Halo is what helped launch my business I even named my company with a nod towards my Halo roots – thg WebMedia LLC. The “thg” is short for thehalogod which is my Xbox gamertag and “thg” is what people would call me whenever I played Halo online.
What Can You Learn From My Story?
You can start an online business off of almost any passion and if you’re in school right now simply focused on getting through your classes with good grades you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to start building your own business while your living expenses are still very low. By the end of college I was paying for rent and food with money made from the websites I launched off the back of 1 video. Bottom line – find something you enjoy and parlay your extensive knowledge and experience on the topic into an online business. The worst thing you can do is look back years later and say “I wish I would have created my own company.”
How’d you get your start online and if you haven’t started please tell us why. See you in the comments below.