In the old economy we were taught to build up our assets. Buy a house. Put money in the bank account. Invest in the stock market. Over time the equity would hopefully build and your money would work for itself.
In the new economy another class of assets has appeared: “The Digital Assets”. For me this has been a series of blog posts over the past few years, over a hundred videos on YouTube, thousands of friends on facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter (according to Twitaholic I’m the 26th most followed person on Twitter in Dubai). Testimonials from people I have worked with are also digital assets for me. As well as software and online commerce sites which can generate money for me (examples: ShopMarkaz, Txtfo, aartechosting, TameenInsurance, Zaourflowers, WebpreneurUniversity).
Think of the richest people that have come about in the past decade. Mark Zuckerberg (founded a small site called facebook), Pierre Omidyar (ebay), Larry Page and Sergey Brin (google) . These are all digital assets. Lines of codes that have generated billions for their founders.
You might not be a “techy” interested in building the next facebook but you have a big stake in the digital economy, like it or not. More and more employers will check you online before hiring you. More of your potential dates will see if you are worth dating before meeting you – in the eastern cultures where men and women have less chances to meet a good facebook profile can be even more critical.
Simply by posting this blog post, I have built up a digital asset. Are you more likely to hire me for my internet expertise if I have one line on my resume that states “thought leader in the world of internet” or by having read my blog post which will be there for many years to come. Slowly resumes will die out and be replaced by personal websites such as this one. Who are you likely to hire – a graphic designer that has a great resume which tells you they are a self starter, creative etc or one that simply sends you a link to their website showing their work over the past few years?
The digital asset is going to be a bigger and bigger part of your wealth in the new economy. Having no friends on facebook, no precence on YouTube or Google means that it’s going to take me quite a bit of time to get to know and trust you. In the trustonomy, the quicker you can establish trust the quicker you can do business. Your digital assets lead to trust.
Just as the number in the bank account database made people feel rich or poor – in the new economy it will be other numbers that also will count towards your wealth. Having a million subscribers opted in to your email newsletter could potentially mean you are “richer” than having a million dollars in the bank account. Imagine if the million people in your email database were huge Harry Potter fans that bought everything Harry Potter related as soon as you told them about it. If you reached this list with every single book and DVD released about Harry Potter with a simple link to Amazon to purchase, than you might make 10 % of the retail price from Amazon as an affiliate commission. Selling a $100 worth of goods over a few years to 50 % of the list would make you $5,000,000. If you do not know how affiliate marketing works, read this article. Doesn’t that $5,000,000 sound better than a million dollars in the bank?
What results have I had by understanding these concepts that I am now writing and teaching you about? In 2009 I increased my salary 67 % by using my LinkedIn digital assets (from $9,000 a month to $15,000 per month). In 2010 I was able to raise $270,000 for an ecommerce start-up – I would not have established enough trust with the investor if I hadn’t been blogging for the past few years (the investor was not a friend or family member – hence the blog and other digital assets were necessary to build trust.)
Just as most people don’t become millionaires overnight but slowly build up their wealth instead. Becoming rich online through your digital assets won’t happen overnight, but will be series of small steps instead. Start by creating a facebook account. Connect to a few friends. Pimp up your profile. Create your own personal website. Post a video on YouTube showing your “expertise” to the world on a subject that is important to you. Build software. Grow your mailing list.
Becoming digitally rich is a long term game. I often get hired by companies that want me to help them get a huge amount of registrations overnight or explode their brand online. It’s not an overnight process, it takes months, if not years.
If you are in school or university and figuring out your future – don’t simply focus on your resume but focus on your long term digital assets. Connecting to your friends on facebook in High School might come in useful a few decades down the line where in the old economy you might have lost touch but in the new economy, your friends will have become CEO’s and big shots at various companies that can help you get to your mission quicker. I can not tell you how useful it has been over the past few years to have connected with people on facebook whom I had only met for 15 minutes or so in the real world. If I had not connected, I would have lost some major digital assets.
Take a minute to think through your digital strategy. Do you even have one? Or are you simply just following the crowd and are on facebook as your friends are on facebook? Do you not judge other people by what you see about them online? So doesn’t that mean that people are also judging you?
For those that want to take advantage of the digital economy, more wealth will be created for them that at any point in history – enabling them to reach potential employers/employees/customers/suppliers/dates throughout the world. For those that would rather stay in the old economy, the recent crash in property prices and the stock market should be reason enough to start thinking about investing in their digital assets.