Have you ever been deep sea fishing? Did you ever catch anything really nice?
When I met my wife (12+ years ago), her dad had this kick-ass 32’ Bertram. Just about every Saturday morning (during the summer), we would wake up well before the crack of dawn so that we could be on the water before the sun came up.
I can tell you, in all honesty, that there is nothing quite like the thrill of reeling in a big, fat, 30+ pound Blackfin Tuna.
The problem is that, like most anglers, we are inpatient at best. Thirty minutes with zero hits is pure torture. As such, we tended to do exactly what most amateurs do; move the boat. While there is certainly nothing wrong with trying to find a better fishing hole, it is hard to catch fish when your lines aren’t in the water.
Internet Marketing – My High Seas Adventure
I started my first blog exactly four years ago today. It was a crappy little .info domain, which I thought was pretty cool at the time. I did not have any big plans to rule the net; I just wanted a place to put some of my thoughts down. I also figured it would be a fun way to let my family know what I was up to without having to actually call them.
Dropping Anchor eHow
I am not really sure how I stumbled upon eHow, but none-the-less, I did. I was absolutely amazed that someone would actually pay me money to write short, crappy little articles. Sure, I tried to make them interesting, and factually correct, but you only needed 125 words in order to have your article published; so that is all I did.
For the next few months, I wrote a new article whenever I could. Sometimes I would publish it on my site while other times I would publish it on eHow. I quickly amassed more than 150 articles on various topics ranging from selling covered calls to healing cracked feet. Laugh all you want, but those pathetic articles were making me almost $200 a month.
Moving the Boat – Commission Ritual
As I began to learn more about SEO, I ran across a brilliant internet marketer named Brian Johnson. Brian had recently released a pretty cool course called Commission Ritual that just about everyone was raving about. Since he was offering a 7-day trial for only $5, I figured I did not have much to lose.
Man, did I love that course!
Within a few days, I had cranked out 5 micro-sites that focused on specific Christmas-themed products. Since this was in late October, my goal was to recoup the cost of the domains before the end of the year. I was floored when those pathetic little sites made more than $500 in November and December alone.
Of course, once January starts so does my busy season so I had to let my online empire simmer for a while. In the meantime, I caught wind that Brian might be releasing a new product. Talk about being geeked up!
Tangled Lines – Halloween Super Affiliate
By the time HSA was released, I was all in. Over the next four months, I built in excess of 125 costume related websites. I really put a ton of effort into these sites and wrote all of the content myself. Of course, since each site only had around five pages of content, it wasn’t all that difficult.
Within a month or so, I had 85 page one rankings. I was so unbelievably pumped. I had never been so excited for trick-or-treaters in my life! If, however, you have been blogging online for any length of time then you already know what happened next – the infamous Mayday update.
Overnight, I literally lost everything I had been working on for the past four months. Time spent in front of a computer instead of playing with my toddler is time that I will never get back. I was absolutely crushed!
Untangling the Lines
After feeling sorry for myself for exactly 10 minutes, I decided to pick two sites (at random since they all sucked now) and make them so good that Lady G could not help but fall back in love with them. I spent the next couple of months leading up to Halloween really crafting some stellar content; well as stellar as toddler fairy costumes can be, that is.
Placing the Fish on the Scales
I really wish I had some great story about how big the fish (ie commissions) were that year. When all is said-and-done I cleared a little over a thousand bucks. While that may seem like a relatively decent amount, you need to consider that each domain cost me around $8. Factor in the cost of hosting, and the unbelievable amount of time and energy I spent on those sites, and you will quickly note what a colossal failure this little experiment was.
All Lines Out of the Water
Whenever you enter a fishing tournament, there is a hard-deadline for pulling your lines out of the water. I had reached the point. For the next year, I did virtually nothing online.
To be perfectly honest with you, it wasn’t all that hard to do. My wife was pregnant with our second child and the pregnancy wasn’t going very well. Three ICU visits in four months really helps to put things into perspective a bit.
Only now, a year later can I actually breathe again. My wife and baby are doing great and my five year old is simply awesome.
Looking Out Across the Ocean
It is sometimes hard to fathom all the things that have happened in the four years since I started my first site.
Case in point, four years ago Pat Flynn was just beginning to think about creating a new site; “Smart Passive Income”. Since then, he has, according to his monthly income reports, made more than $887,000 from his online efforts.
Pat has turned his hobby into a very lucrative business and has become The Authority in the MMO arena; he is also a pretty nice guy as well.
My Fish Tale – The Time that Got Away
You always hear stories about the ‘one that got away’. Sure, fish stories are fun to listen to but when its time you have lost; well then it’s not so great.
STOP MOVING THE BOAT
The one thing I really wish someone would have told me when I started was to focus on one thing and to do a really good job at it. Don’t worry about how much money you make or how many readers you have.
The fish are always bigger in the Gulf Stream (obvious grass is greener reference). The easiest way to fail online is to constantly move from one fishing spot to another. That championship Marlin may be under your boat right now!
So….what’s your story?