The Real Life Struggles Of An Online Entrepreneur
It’s been a while since I’ve posted here, and there are several reasons why, which I will go into. Let me first explain a little about this post and the reason for posting it.
I’ve been blogging on here for a while now relating my successes and struggles. I also read many other blogs on success, making money online, personal improvement and the location independent lifestyle. One thing I have noticed about most, if not all, is the lack of struggles that happen. I don’t read much about the struggles and hardships they go through and many write about how everything seems peachy and rosy.
I’m not here to bitch and complain, but I think people should see or hear what some of us go through, because it isn’t all peaches and cream in the life of a successful blogger/online entrepreneur. There have been things that have happened that make me question why I am doing this, why I continue to try to make it big like others, and do I want to press the Publish button when I am done writing this post.
Everyone talks about being authentic or being transparent but I never hear about the bad shit. Show me you’re a real person and tell me what’s really going on in your life once in a while. I want to know you are for real.
I have this blog and things have been a little rough the past few months, and I need to write about it.
Back in December things were really looking good, I mean really good! Income was going through the roof thanks to Christmas, the niche sites were really working well and I felt like I had finally made it to the big time.
Then Google hit with the Panda Update.
Some of my main money makers took a hit, a huge hit. My Adsense income went from $20-$30 a day to $2-$8 a day and my Amazon Associate sales feel quite a bit too because of the lowered traffic my sites had. You can read This Thread at the Google Webmasters Forum and see all the others who have been hit. People who have good sites with original content, yet are losing traffic and income because of the Panda Update, all in one fell swoop.
On June 16th Google pushed out Panda 2.2 and many people, including myself, have seen some recovery from the initial Panda update. This is the latest and just one of several updates done to Panda since it’s release back on February 24th.
My Adsense income has gone back up to $20-$30+ a day again and it’s been a much needed change and recovery. But it’s guarded. What I mean is that I can’t and won’t put much trust in Google again. Well let me say this that I never really trusted Google to begin with anyway. Having a monopoly on search engine traffic and customizing peoples search results isn’t being quite honest in my opinion. This is why I diversified my online income, so my eggs weren’t all in one basket, but it was a good part of my arsenal. I am further diversifying my arsenal for the next time something like this happens. And it will happen, trust me.
One thing that has had me way distracted and very angry was the lead test that came back positive for my daughter Sarah. The landlord had done some renovations which weren’t conducted properly, nor was the clean up done properly, and my daughter was exposed to lead dust.
This house was built in 1927 and it is covered in lead paint. Most of the time, if the paint isn’t disturbed things are ok, but the lead laws in San Diego make it mandatory that a lead certified construction company do the lead abatement whenever there are renovations going on. This was not done.
Consequently my daughter tested positive for lead and when I asked the landlord to pay for testing to find the source, he refused. Further investigation lead me to the Lead Safe Neighborhood Program of San Diego. After telling them my story they opened a case on this house, came and tested the painted surfaces, took dust samples and cited the owner. The owner had 45 days to comply or be hit with heavy fines for violating health and safety codes.
New renovations have been done by a Lead Certified company and removed even more lead paint from this house in the safety of containment containers. However the owner and the rental agency have made us feel as if we were the bad guys for calling the city on them. It still really bothers me they did this, actually it makes me so damn angry, it’s not even funny. We still have yet to get an apology from the owner.
We’ve been looking for a new place to live and we don’t need their attitude. I am also sure after the “No Retaliation” period of 6 months is over, they will give us the boot. Either way, moving sucks but we need a place to live that is attitude and lead paint free.
In doing my homework I found what removes lead from the body: vegetables high in Iron like greens and Apple juice to name a few. Three months after the initial lead test we had her tested again and the lead has been eradicated from her body. Thankfully she didn’t have to go through chelation therapy. We are relieved and happy to have this lead removed from her tiny body, yet we still have to take her to get evaluations for her growth and learning progress to see if there are any long lasting effects from the lead poisoning.
It’s been almost 6 months since her initial lead test came back positive, the lead is gone but we are still dealing with the after effects of this situation. Doctor and therapist appointments, feelings of anger and helplessness, and wondering if her IQ has been affected or not. It’s not something a parent wants to hear has happened to their child knowing it could have been prevented.
Amazon Associates Program Gets the Ax in California
Here’s a screen shot of the letter I received from Amazon:
I had waited a week before hitting the publish button just to make sure I really wanted to publish this post. I guess there was another reason I waited and now I know why. Another blow has hit online entrepreneurs who reside in California. This blow comes in the form of the cancellation of the Amazon Associates program in California. This is because Amazon and other companies like OverStock.com are taking a stand on what they feel is unconstitutional and counter-productive.
Many, many people in California, and other states(California isn’t the only state who did this) who’ve been axed, depended on the income that Amazon Associated Program gave them. Many people have been ruined and some have probably lost their homes and livelihoods or worse. I counted on the income from Amazon too, but it wasn’t my sole source of income, as I said previously I diversified my income and it was only a part of my income. While it is making things interesting, it is not the devastating blow many people have felt.
Amazon isn’t the only affiliate program that has given Californians the boot. I’ve been kicked out of no less than 5 other affiliate programs due to the new law. Mainly companies who have no physical presence in California. I’ve had to search for comparable affiliate programs, but the biggest blow for me, is that many of my niche sites are dependent on Amazon for the products in the niche. Amazon has a HUGE, no, THE HUGEST inventory of just about anything you can think of. I looked at Barnes & Noble and Borders, and neither of those giants have the selection of the books or products I need to make money with my niche sites.
So what am I doing?
Some of my sites are being sold on Flippa, such as this site: Kindle Covers and Cases which brought in $1,649.10 in December of 2010 and it continues to bring in sales each month. I could get an LLC in another state to continue to work with Amazon, but I don’t really want to go through the hassle of getting an LLC in another state to continue to operate with Amazon Associates. At least not yet. I am hoping the tax law will be over turned and we will get our associates program back. For now I am selling it on Flippa, as well as some of my other sites.
Another thing I am doing…
Another thing I have been doing is focusing on niche sites that I have an active interest in and selling eBooks, such as my Boudoir Photography Poses website. This site, on average right now, has an average of 46 daily visitors, and it sells between $25-$50 worth affiliate sales in eBooks each day on the subject of Boudoir photography Tips.I started this site after the Google panda update hit the first time, in an effort to supplement the lose of the Adsense income I had. This along with the recovery of my Adsense income has helped to offset the lose of the Amazon Affiliates Program.
Dealing with stress and remembering what’s important…
In May of this year we had a family wedding to attend in Ohio. We stayed at my sister-in-laws in Kentucky which is right across the Ohio River from Cincinnati, Ohio. I decided that I wasn’t going to do ANY work at all. I had at first thought I would do some posts and get caught up on this blog, but decided not to. I did however have to review and approve personal profiles for the dating sites I run. This is about 10 minutes per day just before bed and that was all I did.
Taking time for the family…The Attitude of Gratitude
First, I spent lot’s of time with my girls: my wife and my two daughters.
The next thing I did was not worry about business, knowing that whatever is supposed to happen, is going to happen no matter what I do. I just tried to do the next indicated step. Knowing that no matter what happens, everything will be OK. I’m an entrepreneur and entrepreneurs are survivors. I’m a survivor. If one thing fails I go to another thing or way of making money.
The next thing I did was spend some time with my parents who came down just to baby site and see the girls. That was nice. My dad hadn’t met the younger one, Hannah, and my mom hadn’t seen her since she was born. We went to the zoo with my parents and the kids and spent the day feeding the goats in the childrens zoo, riding the miniature train(Sarah loves trains) and just enjoying the free time of not having to work.
Worrying about what’s going to happen, does nothing but make you sick and paralyzed. There’s nothing that worrying has ever solved for me, so I just went with the flow. I just turned 47 last month and I’m not getting any younger so spending time with my daughters is paramount in my daily life. Who knows what the future holds for us, but I remember an old saying, ” Yesterday is gone, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift.”
Another saying is “If you have one foot in the past, and one foot in the future, you’re pissing on the present”.
Things do happen in the lives of successful people and their not always pleasant. Staying grounded and keeping what’s really important close to your heart, will help you get through anything. My grandfather used to say ” If you have a shovel you can always dig ditches”. My head is the shovel, life is the ditch. I dig life, it’s an adventure worth living.
So what Amazon is gone for me now, maybe it will come back, maybe it won’t. I’ll do other things that help to support the family and my lifestyle of working at home, close to the family. So what Google made my traffic almost nil for some sites and my income go down a bit, I’ll just do something else like sell eBooks and do photography. So what all this is happening around me, what really matters is what’s important and close to my heart, my family. That is what’s truly important.
Without the bad we wouldn’t be able to gauge the good or know true happiness.
This post goes out to my mentor and teacher Yaro Starak. My thoughts are with you and your Mum.
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