People frequently ask me, “How did you do it?  How did you figure out how to make a living online?”

There are many ways I could respond, but most of it had to do with fireplaces.  And, death.

Put your hands down.  I’ll explain.

The Latin word for fireplace, fire pit or hearth is focus.  

 Think of the Romans all those years ago gathered around the fire and cold winter nights. The ad the attention was on the fireplace. They were ‘focused’.

When I first stared as a teacher, I taught math, English, history (which I loved), and Latin.  

And, my family was struggling financially.  I knew I needed to plant a flag and claim my own territory.  I needed to focus.  I needed to get close to just one fire.  I needed to ignore the other fires.  

This is where another Latin word comes in.   Decidere, in Latin, means to cut off.  The last part of the word, cidere, comes from the Latin word cadere.  It means to be slain.  To die.  

Essentially, when we decide, we are allowing other choices to die.  When I decided to buy the house I am living in, for example, I allowed the other choices to die.  We live in town.  I wouldn’t mind living in the country.  But, when I decided to buy a house in town, I let the choice to live in the country die.

I could have taught a lot of things.  I have degrees in History and in Business.  (In business school I learned to buy low and sell high.  Learned that from a book I purchased for $70.  Sold that book back to the college bookstore for $5.  Sigh.)

Anyway, I could have taught a lot of things.  I decided to let the other subjects die.  I decided to give all of my professional attention to Latin.  

I decided to focus.  

That decision was a big part of the story.  

I didn’t know I would end up making a living online someday.  But, that decision is part of why I do.  

You can do the same.  

You can choose something to master.  

But, you are likely going to have to give something else up.  Maybe lots of somethings.

I used to be like the man who jumped on his horse and rode madly off in every direction.  Maybe you are too.  

Choose a direction.  Let the other directions die.  Only by choosing a direction will you ever get anywhere. 

Focus on one thing for a while.  Focus on it for a few years.  Your progress will begin to add up.  People will begin to notice.  Slowly, you will become an expert.  

Ask yourself these questions:

“What do I like to do?”

“What am I good at?”

“What do people ask about when they come to me for advice?”

“What would people pay me to do?”

Find out the answers to these questions.  Start a blog.  You can do this for free on

Start blogging about the topic you have decided to focus on.  

Commit for a few years.  It may take five years.  

That’s okay.  If you start, and plod forward, and if you are consistent, you may find yourself free in five years.  

Then you can do whatever you like.  

It’s worth it. 

It starts with a decision.  

It starts with the decision to focus.