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The Other Side to Smith: Making money online.

The internet is a vast field. Daunting to the newcomer and engaging to the seasoned user. Most of us have had a brush with it, probably when we check our email or socialize in Facebook. The Blackberry explosion in Nigeria and the increase in the number of affordable broadband internet service has helped in providing ready access too.

There still seems to be a dark alley. The only people making good money off the internet are the “Yahoo boys”. This is such a shame because there are a lot of ways to make money, LEGALLY, off the internet. I often get asked how much can someone make off the internet. Short answer: A LOT. In truth, there really isn’t any limitations to what you can earn online.

I will not be going into specifics here, rather I’ll be giving pointers instead. Bear in mind that as with every business there are no “easy” or quick methods to Internet Marketing. It requires a lot of time, resources and discipline. That said, let’s get right to it.

Blogging

This is probably the easiest to start internet business. Although it is probably one of the hardest to earn profit too. The problem is that you have to always have something on your blog that people want to read. In subsequent posts I’ll tell you how to find out what people find interesting at anytime.

You also have to have quality content. Visitors are more likely to return to your blog if your content is engaging. For instance I have been a regular visitor to Css-tricks.com. The blog is deliciously built but more importantly, it has quality content. NotJustOk.com is another example of a blog with engaging content.

You have to be a consistent blogger. It really ticks visitors off when they visit your blog after a while and find nothing new to see. It helps to have a couple of posts lined up before you start your blog. That way you can keep writing without the pressure of having to submit something new.

As with every other kind of business you need to have a plan. In this case, you should put into consideration the amount of visitors you want to visit you blog each day. This usually translates to how much you will earn eventually.

There is a whole lot more involved in blogging. Google is your friend. Hit the search button if you want to find out more about setting up your own blog or you could wait for subsequent posts where I’ll go into details about setting up a blog.

Now for the crucial part. How do you actually earn money from your blog?

More on that next week…


How to become a music star: PART 1

In this post I’ll try and tell you some of the basic steps you need to take on your road to stardom as a musician. This is by no means a definite guide but rather a pointer to some of the proven steps you’ll need to take if you want to be noticed as a musician. One thing you have to put at the back of your mind is that music is an art form and no one style appeals to the general populace. That being said, I think it would be wise to warn you that making music can be extremely tedious and expensive in terms of your personal time and resources so please DO NOT USE FUNDS MEANT FOR VERY IMPORTANT ACTIVITIES TO FINANCE YOUR MUSIC CAREER. There are no guarantees in making music so please avoid spending your school fees or rent or money set aside for health purposes in making music. With that out of the way, I’ll jump straight to the first step.

Isn’t it obvious that to make music, as is with other art forms, you have to have at least the basic understanding of music itself? Do not kid yourself. Not every Tom, Dick and Harry can make music and to make music that will appeal to a wide range of listeners you need to have a solid grounding on the fundamentals. Get some education. There are a lot of schools that offer solid musical education in Nigeria, one of which is the Muson center in Lagos. Get enrolled and take advantage of their vast resources to better yourself as a musician. If that route doesn’t suit you, you could enroll with a church choir even if you do not get to sing always with them. You’ll benefit from the experience of older choristers. There are also private music coaches available to you if you so desire. If you have difficulties locating them you can leave a request on my contact form and I’ll respond with the contact details of some of the coaches I work with.

When you are sufficiently educated, you’ll need to have a song. This step is tricky and you’ll need to explore your strengths. Making a good song requires some experience. It is not enough that you have a few words strung up together, you need to have a certain knack for conveying emotions with words. After all you are dealing with a certain type of poetry here. Like with the previous step, you can enlist the help of professionals here too. There are songwriters available to help you at a fee. If you have some confidence in what you have written yourself, you can sing it to your friends and family to hear their critique. This can be very helpful as their opinions would be an early indicator of your progress.

When you are satisfied with your song, then it is time for you to find a producer to produce your song. It is worthy to note that at this point, you should start accounting for everything you spend on. It is absolutely important that you have a sizable budget as recording a song can be expensive. Your choice of producer should be based primarily on his ability to make the kind of music that you hope to make. It is also important that he has a vast knowledge on how songs are made. I think I should also elaborate on the difference between a producer and a studio engineer because these two are often confused. A producer is largely responsible for the sequencing, arranging and directing the song. He can work with other producers and/or instrumentalists to achieve this. The producer often has the final say on a song. The studio engineer on the other hand handles the actual recording and probably mixing of the song. He takes direction from the producer. It is not uncommon to find a producer that seconds as a studio engineer though. So when you secure a producer for your song, make sure he/she understands what you aim to achieve with the song.

When that is done, it is now time to hit the studio. This is when it starts getting exciting. Choose a studio that is best equipped in your price range. Most studios offer per session and per song packages. While it’ll be more expensive to opt for the per song package, it is more rewarding than the per session package because the per session package often comes with a time limit of an average of eight hours. This time is not very reasonable if you are not sufficiently prepared or if the song has a complex arrangement. It is also not the best package for you if you have a lot of musicians involved in your song as it would be required to take multiple instances of their performances. Making a song like every other art form requires patience and the per session package does not allow for that. My advice to you is that you should always opt for the per song package.

On the day that you decide to record make sure that you are well rested. Contrary to urban legends, alcohol consumption can be detrimental to your overall performance. Try to abstain from alcoholic beverages if you can. It will do you a whole lot of good if you have rehearsed the song thoroughly but try not to strain your voice. You’ll also benefit from light exercises, especially ones that strengthens your diaphragm. Swimming and light jogging are very good.

In the next post I’ll elaborate on the actual process of making a song.

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Barren Lands

I went to school in a desolate land. It was a hard and dry place. It is still a hard and dry place. It had perilous paths and teachers who barely taught you anything. My school never graduates students, not like it mattered to the students at all.

In my school, if you listened closely enough, you’ll learn few virtues and more vices. The only way to be good is to close your heart and your ears. In my school, good deeds are a punishable crime and evil is celebrated.

My school had seniors with no conscience. People who ran the affairs of the school on behalf of their fellow students with no regards or afterthought. Promises were made in the open but when it’s dinner time, the lion share of it is devoured á deux. We, the junior students, would have loved to report them to the authority but we fear the terrible reprisal that awaits us.

My school had broken windows. It got terribly cold in the mornings and nights and when it rained(it hardly did) it drenched us all. The sandy breeze met no barrier as it smites us meanwhile our seniors take classes in the recently renovated dining hall. These broken windows were good only for one thing. They provided an escape route whenever the seniors wanted to punish a class en mass.

My parents do not know of all these things and I do not intend to inform them because one day I hope to be a senior student too. I want to do to those unsuspecting and innocent students what had been done to me. It wouldn’t feel fair if after all that I’ve been through my parents just pulled me out of this hell hole. I wouldn’t leave. I would stay and terrorize them as it was done to me.

Who are you to judge me. Would you be any better? Would you try to change the system? Would you look at evil in the eye and defy it? Would you? I seriously doubt it. Yet you sit in the comfort of your homes, reading this from an expensive piece of equipment and swearing within yourselves that you’d be better. That you will forgive. That you’d oppose the evil system. That you’d PROTEST!

The sad truth is that you wouldn’t fight the system. You are too tolerant. You have no resolve for things of this nature. You pay thieves monthly to renew services that are pitiable at best, outrageously exploiting by default and you do this without even raising a decibel of your voice in protest. Shame on you. Shame on you all!

I shall neither graduate from this school nor oppose it’s laws rather I’ll transform myself into the MEANEST MURDAFUCKING SENIOR! In the wise words of Guru Kanye West: “I’m a murdafucking monster”.

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Sexy is GONE!

The other day, I indulged myself to some classic ragga and R&B from back in the days. It was such a sweet period in time when we had Diana King et al dictating the tune in every party. I remember how people used to have proper fun then. I was that kid that mimed in school so naturally I knew all the latest songs. That earned me cool points too. You will always catch me and my buddies singing along to Heavy D or Snoop Doggy Dogg… I miss those days jor.

One thing that struck me in my moment of reminiscence was the memory of how we used to dance back then. Remember Patra? Can you remember how you grooved to her tunes? I’ll remind you. The dance was always very sensual. It was either ‘the butterfly’ or any of it’s variants. The point is that we danced SEXY!

One might argue that the songs from that era were by far slower than most dance floor aimed songs released nowadays but I think that those old songs had more substance and that matters to me. I remember the feeling I used to get anytime “Shy guy” was played in a party. It was more than the catchy chorus, the verses were drop dead sexy. The beat got you grooving with an absolute stranger in ways that might offend their better halves. But in all that, it was still about having fun.

With the exception of Gyptian’s smash hit, most party songs have either had idiotic content best suited for retards(insert Soljaboi and niko gravity here) or the tempo of the song would have triggered a heart attack. Big ups to Kas, Wizkid and Tuface(I liked implication but I’m in love with only me) for bringing the tempo down a bit. Kas came with a mega hit, although he said absolutely nothing in it. Wizkid proved that a club hit didn’t have to sound like Terry G.

If you’ve noticed, I’ve made little mention of foreign songs. The truth is that the Americans are not making quality music right now, Smh. I pray they find their way back to the dance floors soon.

Back to sexy. Now, what a song does to you is it either turns you to a retard(alanta) or a workout instructor. If you are fortunate, then you’ll get to dance with someone who wouldn’t poke you in the eye in the name of “Yahooze”. Then a popular complain amongst ladies now is that they can’t dance with a guy and not expect their breasts and backsides to be senselessly assaulted. Where did all that come from. I’m not saying that rockers from back in the days were saintly, we just had more class. The music was better, the attitude was a whole lot more mature. In all, parties were grander. We danced on and had sex off the dance floor. Period!

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Half man Half Idiot!

Imagine me oh! I promised that I’ll write more often. Not only that I’ve broken that promise, I broke it for a very lousy reason. I should be stoned(or flogged) for being so inconsiderate to people who live by my every word. I can imagine the agony of the wait(I’m feeling myself too much right?).

I have been busy chasing a misty dream in the guise of music while my peers have been pursuing more noble professions. Not that I’m saying that music making isn’t noble(oops I just said it), it’s just that if you are not making the “Tuface’ish” money it seems like an awful waste of time and energy. Many of my friends are either bankers(with outrageous monthly targets if I might add) or lawyers(ish) or doctors(I know two and they both rap by the way). Many more of them are currently employed at one firm or the other, making big bucks, while I sit in my studio daily, hoping the next beat is going to be my “Oleku” beat. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not complaining. I’m just wishing I had been a bit more sensible and taken up a normal job.

Come to think of it. I’ll really be better off with a normal 9-5. I fancy myself a computer genius and can envision myself working for a telcom company. I’ll have to work long hours and I’ll have to give up my nasty habit for waking up when it suits me(who’ll want that sef?). I’ll have to wear a tie everyday and answer to a very nice man called “Boss”.

Life can be all the more fun if I had chosen the normal route, just like my friends did. None of my friends work throughout the night(maybe with the exception of my telcom buddies) like I do. Does it matter that my nocturnal work usually takes place in nightclubs and GOSH! Who’ll want to do all that socializing I find myself doing with drunk people every now and then(I promise, I don’t end up being one of the drunks). Who’ll want his/her work place littered with naughty celebrities being themselves in the absence of an all seeing camera? And all those fine chickZzzzzzz… No, I’ll rather stay home, pressing my shirt and tie in preparation for the next day’s work.

I really fucked up. Now I have to make sure that I make a national hit song and have nasty scandals in the news to be very good at my job. I have to be in several countries almost simultaneously to get promoted and I’ll have to charge outrageous sums to upcoming artistes for beats. How else are they suppose to know that I am a very good badt guy eh?

I’ll have to live an idiotic life to excel at my job. Oh well. My name is Thompson Edolo and I am a confirm IDIOT!

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In Beauty Lies Strife

A friend of mine once told me of a beautiful young lady. This lady was a bombshell. She had grace and style and she had charm.

This lady was an icon of everything that can be good and a beacon of hope for her peers. She radiated with prosperity and grace.

The woman also had a deadly secret that gnawed through her soul. She was piss poor. Even though she had a fat bank account, she did not derive any satisfaction from wealth. In fact, she has not been properly happy for as long as she can remember.

This emotional poverty was of the result of her past ventures in life. A life filled with beautiful lobbies and huge hairy bellies and carelessly “forgotten” envelopes.

This life had brought her so much wealth. This life had taken the life of the only person she had ever loved. Now this life has had her living in small towns for the past five years.

Her name always changed with every telling of the story(not that I cared much. I knew my friend was lying anyway) but the core of the tale remained the same. For the sake of this iteration I’ll call her Sarah.

Sarah had a deep yearning for success. She was highly ambitious but had a reckless conscience. She’ll do about anything.

Sarah graduated from the university with a second class upper degree only because she knew that she couldn’t defend a first class degree if she was required to. She served in Abuja and quickly found herself working for a top commercial bank. That was when she fell in love.

Richard was his name(also for the sake of this iteration). He was your normal guy, slightly comfortable. He was dependable and loving. He wasn’t wealthy. She loved him anyway. Oh how he loved her! She meant everything to Richard and the poor fellow would do anything for her. Little did he know that everything was being done for her by some other people.

This little complication grew to be a major hassle as Richard started doubting the authenticity of Sarah’s stories. In the end, when everything was apparent, Richard left Sarah. She was heartbroken and so was the US economy.

She did not survive the recession “sack”. As soon as she was out of work, her lovers suddenly had a new yearning for someone younger. She had lost almost everything. Somehow though, she was convinced that Richard would take her back. Only then did she find out that Richard had died of AIDS. She had the virus too.

This story is not about Sarah or Richard. It’s more about me/us. Maybe we should take a recap on what is important to us every five minutes.


I haven’t been GOOD

I had promised myself that when I start writing, I wouldn’t stop. I had told myself that I’ll blitz through twenty posts in my first week. Alas, this is just the third one.

I had recently promised myself that I would quit smoking. Problem is, I knew I was lying to myself when I made that promise too. And so I botched many more promises I made to myself and to others.

What have you been doing to make good of these and more broken promises, folks would ask. To be honest, nothing much. Maybe a little, at least I am writing this blog post. But really I ought to be doing a whole lot more. The problem is that I find myself doing about a gazzilion things at any given time. This takes it’s toll on me(hey I’m not superman).

I’m really more than your average everyday guy. First off, I’m a MAN. I don’t mean this in the context of gender. No, it’s more about my everyday responsibilities and I’ve got loads of them. I have to wake up and take a shower(mighty hard work!). I have to delegate the house chores to my better half(matrimony rocks!!) and I have to go to work(oh blimey!!!).

All these can be exceptionally tiring, especially doing the house chores(did I say that I lovingly pass it over to wifey?) but I still get round them like a MAN.

Then there is matrimony and fatherhood. A lot of promises get made and broken as a father and a husband. Some, unfortunately and some intentionally. Again the hard work associated with being a husband and a father takes it’s toll too.

Imagine what turning down a steady stream of advances from hot “smallies” can do to a husband’s mental stability(yeah I stay faithful *tongue out*). That has to make up for (almost) forgetting my wife’s birthday. I had promised to take her out but I spent most of the day making money for US! That should earn me an extra point too right?

Then I botched a trip me and my family were supposed to take to the beach. The excuse, no money. The real excuse, I didn’t withdraw money from my no-atm account on time on a friday because of… Yes you guessed right. Work. My daughter is too young to be disappointed so I guess I saved some change that will go into her welfare in the nearest future.

Then there is work. Oh, you should talk to my dissatisfied clients. Or maybe you shouldn’t.

The truth is that as long as I am “on the grind”, I can’t help but break some promises I make. Most especially if those promises contradicts my present goal. So if I’ve made a promise to you in recent times and haven’t come through, I am truly and deeply sorry about you being on a LONG TIN.