A Glimmer of Hope

The first thing I had to do was determine my topic.

And one of the things I learned from my failed niche website was….

I NEEDED TO BE PASSIONATE ABOUT THE TOPIC.

Truth is, my niche website started getting more traffic as time went on…

But I hated the topic, so I didn’t care.

I used a very specific process to determine what my topic was going to be.

This entire process of choosing a topic is too much to explain here, so it’s available in my free mini course, which you’ll hear about later.

Long story short, I landed on the idea of a website to help felons get jobs.

And now you’re probably wondering…..what?  Why?

Well, my dad remarried and his new wife had an adult son who had been incarcerated.

Truth is, he was a VERY nice guy, but COULD NOT get a job for the life of him because of his felony.

My thought was….

Okay, I’ll just make this website because people need it.

And therein is a lesson.

I made a website for PEOPLE who needed help.

Not profits.

Not traffic.

Not bragging rights.

But the totally unselfish reason of wanting to help people in need.

Online Business Truth #8

When you're focused on really helping people, you'll be more passionate about the project which gets you through the hard times when you don't feel like working.

Next, came my research about the industry.

Long story short, there were five other websites doing this already.

I looked at their content…

I looked at their web design…

And I hated it. 

None of them looked really good and the content was “meh”.

So, I decided I could do it better than they could.

Online Business Truth #9

Competition isn't a bad thing.  I'd even argue that it's a good thing.  When you have competition before you create a website, it means that the model works.

Finally came my monetization strategy for the website. 

In other words, how would it make money?

I thought to myself…

Well, these people don’t have money and I don’t want to try to sell them stuff.

At that point, I decided I’d just try to create a website that got a lot of traffic and use Google Adsense.

(For those of you that don’t know, Google Adsense allows you to put a code on your website and then Google serves ads automatically.  When those ads are clicked, you make money.)

My secondary income stream would be Indeed.com.

(This is a job board and if you refer people to the website to apply for jobs and they click on ads, you’ll make money)

This was a great model for me because I HATED selling stuff to people.

My goal was to eventually make $500/month.

But worst case, I created a resource that was helpful for people.

Then, I decided I was going to do something in tandem while I created this website.

I would document every step of the process on my own blog.

In reflection, this was a blessing.  

I basically documented EVERYTHING I DID, AS I DID IT.

I created content like crazy for this website. 

Not only that, but I hired a writer to help me create more content.

Any question a felon had, I wanted to be the resource that had an answer.

And after a month of hard work, I started to see some promising things.

2,317 pageviews?!?!? 687 visitors?!?!?

Okay, that’s great…..but what about earnings.

I opened up my Google Adsense account and….

Bummer.

Whatever, it didn’t matter.

These earnings were better than my other website, but it still wasn’t enough to live on.

However…..

I knew my website traffic was growing and I was on an uphill trajectory

So I decided to QUIT MY JOB.

I nearly puked because of how nervous I was when I did it.

But, I had saved 6 months worth of expenses.

I was still teaching and doing some consulting for side income.

All in all, I was probably making around $20k a year from these side-gigs.

I called this a “calculated risk”.

Online Business Truth #10

Taking calculated risks is what helped me stay sane during this process.  Some people say you should just "jump" and leave your job.  I think that's insane. Plan and prepare and you'll be successful.

I figured I could just cut my expenses and make some sacrifices to give it a shot.

Moved out of my condo in the city and relocated to the burbs.

Got rid of cable.

Eliminated ALL unnecessary expenses…..

And then I began to experience FREEDOM.

Sure, I had less money.  

But I had my TIME back.

And best of all……..

This was easily one of the happiest moments of my life.

Total optimism.

Complete freedom.

It was time to take what’s mine.

So, five months went by and the website got plenty of visitors

But little income.

Then that crushing reality set in.

Maybe it’s time to quit….

I’m six months in, but I’m not making enough money.

I’ve tried like hell, my bank account is starting to get low, I can’t keep doing this.

I felt like a total failure, I literally cried because I was so upset.

How could I fail again?  This is supposed to be the one!

And then came February of 2016, and things changed forever.