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To be honest, when I left my job in April of 2013, I never thought I’d make it two years.
But it was time to move on, and I figured the internet marketing business gave me a good excuse for making the jump.
Now, as I approach the 2-year goal, I think I’m ruined. I honestly don’t think I could ever go back.
At the same time I am humbled. So many people have lost their shirts starting their own businesses. I know I could always be next. It causes me to think clearly and cautiously about every decision.
My Income Reports Are Back
Many of you followed my reports (and rise from a call center peon to a self-employed marketer) on my old blog.
A year ago, I stopped these. For multiple reasons.
For one, it really bothered me that there are so many people who do nothing but read these reports… but never take action.
But I’ve finally come to grips with the fact that there will always be those folks.
There are a lot of people like you and I who use these reports to inspire us to press forward and stay the course.
And we need these reports to keep the fires burning.
Secondly, my income was growing really, really fast. In one year I went from making $3k a month in April at a call center to a $10k month in December of the same year. And it felt really weird — uncomfortable, even — to be talking about that. I’ve got to hand it to Pat Flynn. It takes guts to put it all out there every month.
I’ve grown more comfortable with where I am. And now that I have a CPA, it makes putting these posts together a lot easier.
My format for these month-end round ups is to discuss things that helped me win, caused me to lose and then a quick bit about my focus for the next month.
I Turned 30!
They say they can’t trust me, now 😉
It was incredible to celebrate with so many family and friends. And thanks to you guys for your well-wishes.
What meant so much, though, was the huge pile of donations everyone brought to my birthday party for our local Pregnancy Resource Center. We talk about the “Woman’s right to choose” but when you can hardly afford Ramen noodles, not being able to afford diapers isn’t much of a choice.
I hope this stack can helps some kiddos who, like my dad, may not have stood much of a chance otherwise.
As I mentioned on the last post on my old blog, something I discovered last year is that I cannot win at everything. Because of that, I am more inclined to outsource projects, whether they be fixing a leaky faucet or my taxes.
Some of these are really hard to let go of. I mean, a CPA cost nearly $400 to have him prepare my taxes. But having him on board took my involvement down from 3 days to 2 hours. He found deductions I never would have seen, dropping my taxes by about $3,000. And on top of that, he’s coming to me with numbers saying “did you realize that you are spending 2x in this category compared to this other category that is most likely going to give you better ROI?”
Try having to ‘fess up to your CPA every month about your “shiny object syndrome”. It’s good for you and it’s good for the business.
I may have mentioned this before, but I am in a bi-weekly mastermind call with a couple of other internet marketers. One of them is going the exact route I am. The other is doing more of the product creation route and is delivering some incredible training to the SEO world. I find they bring incredible balance to my ideas and help me check myself before I get off course.
Plus, they are really good at helping me prioritize. For example, I opened up ‘Houdini Act 1’ before it was entirely finished, based on their encouragement that I test the market before I sink too much time into it. (Good news: HA1 passed the test!)
If you are interested in joining a mastermind, I actually run one for internet marketers on a bi-weekly basis inside The Pond.
I never get as much done as I think I should. Last month was incredible. I went from an idea on how I could help people, to actually getting it off the ground. But it has not been without a lot of blood, sweat, tears and late nights.
Not to mention it is taking time away from my main business goals. And I think through that I am learning a lesson that I’ve needed to learn for a long time: take care of your own “house” first.
I love “giving back” as it were, but last week the wife asked me to re-evaluate my time buckets. And as I looked them over, I realized that a lot of time was going to organizations that I care about. So much so, that both the business and family life weren’t growing at the rate they should.
Additionally, I had taken on too much client work. It turns out that hourly pay is — in some respects — the enemy of passive income.
The bottom line is, I’ll be greatly reducing my time investments in client work and organizations over the next 6 months to allow more time for family and business growth (and, hopefully, my health. It has gone to pot.) Ideally, the course will be running smoothly by then as well, making it more of a fun hobby.
Some folks can do it all. I can’t.
February is going to be an insane month. We are looking seriously at moving and are working like mad folks to get the house ready to sell.
I’m going to invest close to a week in non-stop packing, painting and perfecting before we sign with the Realtor, hopefully end of next week.
At the same time, I’d really like to finish Houdini Act 1 while simultaneously doing some final promotion work on an affiliate site that has been in the works since February of last year (The poor site has been so neglected. It made $91 last month. I was thrilled. )
To help with these goals, I want to spend $1,500 on outsourcing this month. I thought I spent a lot on it last year, but in going over the numbers, it is one of the areas we can really stand to grow. It also has the most direct impact on my income. The more work I get done, the more I make. I’m hoping to leverage the minds of others to the point that I can somewhat step away from the business by the end of the year.
Most of our income come from the affiliate site model. I was inspired by this business back in 2010 when Pat Flynn did his infamous “Niche Site Duel“. (You changed my life, dude. Thanks)
It has been a long road to learn the ropes. Most marketing is “common sense”, but, unfortunately, the SEO and blogging communities are so focused on finding the next way to get-rich-quick that it is easy to overlook the obvious when trying to find the next “hack”.
Thankfully, there were a few bloggers here and there delivering real value. Spencer, Becker, Skeffling… they all played a major role in keeping the flame alive and helping me find my way. I also got to meet so many cool folks in 2014… I really hope we can expand that in 2015.
But, in a lot of ways, NSD planted a seed that took 4 years to grow.
Amazon Associates (November Earnings): $9,181.96
Other Affiliate Income: $1,313.31
Total Earnings: $10313.27
Business Expenses: $2157.00
Net Profit: $8,156.27
Expenses Include: Outsourcing, hosting, software, training, a few dinners, utilities (rent for my small office, cell phones, internet), and health insurance.
I interview a crazy cat who decided photography sounded like a fun career, bought a camera and replaced her job a year later.
Ready To Start Your Own Escape Plan?
Questions? Thoughts? What Was Your January Win?
Put it in the comments below!
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