Hi, my name is Mahmoud Rasmi (@decafquest). I taught philosophy at the university for 7 years before deciding to quit academia in May 2020 to explore other opportunities.
1. How and when did you make your first dollar online?
I made my first dollar online on May 15, 2020. It was a strike of luck, coupled with a series of factors that made it a lot easier to actually earn my first dollar.
On May 11, 2020, in the middle of a pandemic, and worldwide lockdown, I took to Twitter asking if anyone was potentially interested in a 9-week Existentialism in Literature Online Synchronous Course.
A total of 44 people ended up signing up. I’ve been giving online philosophy courses since then.
2. How long did it take between the idea and this first dollar?
4 days. And it wasn’t an idea that I had given much thought to. That’s why I think I was lucky. The tweet could have simply been a flop.
But during lockdown made it easier for people to consider signing up for a philosophy course, and the topic, existentialism, struck a chord.
The course became a meeting point for people from around the globe to reflect on and share their experiences.
3. What best actionable advice would you give to someone who wants to start TODAY?
Insofar as the cost is minimal, it wouldn’t hurt to just try. Over the past two years, I shifted my mentality from a ‘why should I do this?’ to a ‘why not?’ mindset.
And this is coming from a philosophy professor.
Read From ‘Why?’ to ‘Why Not?’ - How Changing Your Attitude Can Help Create More Opportunities and Build More Bridges
Also, another actionable and probably obvious piece of advice would be to diversify your career portfolio and income streams. This way you would avoid falling into stagnation and would be ready to face the uncertainty of the job market.
The reason why I quit my job, for example, was because of the economic crisis and currency devaluation that hit us in Lebanon in 2019. My salary was not enough to pay rent anymore. So I had to figure out how to find new sources of income.
4. What resources would you recommend to a beginner?
It depends on the field. But if you’re trying to create a digital presence for yourself, some sort of online portfolio, I would recommend that you start learning new skills to complement the ones you already have. This, of course, is relative to you.
In my case, I had 0 design skills, no understanding of branding or marketing (despite having a Business degree), newsletters, how to build an audience, etc, and didn’t even know where to start.
So if you’re like me, I’d recommend apps like Canva, and to find books and courses that would help them learn a thing or two about copywriting, brand strategy, marketing, sales, etc.
Other resources or tools I’d recommend:
5. Who would you recommend to follow?
Bridge dweller.– Mahmoud