Hi guys, Every time I have added 1000 posts to my tally, I have made a milestone post. I?m not usually a big fan of people celebrating milestones on forum, but here I will be hypocritical as hopefully it will serve as inspiration to some of you who are just getting started but struggling to get going. Large forums like BHW will always have a lot of posts to go through to find solid information, but stick at it and you?ll get there. When I first joined BHW in 2008 I had never made $1 online. In the years since, I?ve made into 7 figures in total. I?m not saying that to gloat ? just to let you know what is possible. Before you read this post you should read my previous milestone posts to see how things have progressed: In 2010 when I had just started IM full time: http://www.blackhatworld.com/blackh...-my-1000th-post-some-lessons-ive-learned.html Early 2012: http://www.blackhatworld.com/blackh...t-complete-noob-full-time-imer-bhw-alone.html We?re now in 2013 and I have been working full time online for nearly 3 years. Prior to that I was at University (to anyone thinking of dropping out, I wouldn?t recommend it. Whilst most things I learned at University were pointless, you will learn life lessons and make contacts that will stay with you the rest of your life). In the last six months I have made a number of quite big changes to my business. In 2011/12 Bryan (bryanon) and I hired quite a few people and it got to the stage where I spent more time managing than I did running my business. This became an issue and something I have learned the hard way. I?ve recently cut back on staff (to become more efficient) and myself and Bryan have also gone our separate ways. There were no hard feelings but it got to the stage where Bryan wanted to move on to new and exciting projects while I wanted to take the business in the direction I had planned. We made a lot of money together but sometimes it is best to make a big and hard decision and do what?s best for both partners. We had always bootstrapped the business from day one and literally started the company with a few dollars each. Here are a few of the lessons I?ve learned and some things I have done in the last 12 months: - Focus! Diversifying is great, but I became a little obsessed with it and got to the stage where my main business began to suffer. Sure, we had numerous cashflows, but it became difficult to manage and brokering (my main income) got a little stagnant. Recently, I?ve sold off some smaller projects. Now I just run a few large sites and spend a lot more time brokering. - Bought my first 6 figure site. This is exciting progress and I decided I was better at managing a few large projects than I was running numerous small projects. I won?t go into numbers here, but we?ve already made some exciting progress. - Hire slowly, but hire well. I brought in a new partner at the end of 2012 with some more formal brokering experience. He helped get me focus on what I do well (brokering) and cut back on some of the things I was emotionally attached to. We?re also making a lot more money than I was before. - Emotional attachment! This is a difficult one. All entrepreneurs have an attachment to their projects. I?m also very stubborn so like to think I?m always right. It took a fresh viewpoint to make some changes that were best for the business but I would have struggled to make myself. Don?t be afraid to get a third party to look at your business and tell you straight what they think. They may pick up on obvious issues you have overlooked. Don?t be afraid to evolve and admit where you are wrong. Business is dynamic so embrace change. - Seven figures. This is my turnover (not profit!) target for 2013. I don?t think we will quite get there, but I am working hard towards it. We will at least get close. I work in a relatively high margin industry so most of the money I make is profit. - Become an expert through doing and learning. I like to think I know everything when it comes to buying and selling sites, but I really don?t. I continuously learn from friends, competitors, business partners, staff and everyone I speak to. I often wake up at 4am with a notepad with new ideas. Keep developing yourself and become an expert. You can?t become an expert with theory so make sure you do and test things yourself. In the long-term, the only way you will make a sustainable income online is by becoming an expert in one area (assuming it?s something where you can make money ? which is almost anything). It?s good to learn about different things, too, but don?t lose track of your end goal. - Be honest and be yourself. I?m a very honest person and often come across as quite rude (I?m sure a lot of you have noticed!). Sometimes being too honest gets me in trouble (I often lose sales by being too honest!) but long term I believe this helps. I get a lot of referrals in my business and my clients love the fact they will get an honest answer from me. They don?t always like the answer I will give them, but they know it will at least by honest. Bullshitting can get you so far, but it?s really not the way to go long-term. You should always be yourself ? people like working with people (not businesses/machines) so let some of that personality shine through! - Focus! Did I mention that already? I spent a few years working from home but in 2012 I moved into an office. This helps me stay focused and separate work life from personal life. Don?t get me wrong ? I am always working, but I like to come home and relax after ?work? and this helps me stay productive. - Reinvest. I see a lot of kids join BHW wanting to make some money to buy a shiny new toy. Anyone who has met me in real life will know that I am not flashy and look on the verge of homelessness. I reinvest almost all my money back in my business for it to grow. Don?t get me wrong, I live well, but well below my means. - Eat well and stay fit. This is something I neglected heavily when starting out (newbies ? don?t get any illusions, setting up your own business is a long, hard slog). Recently I have started going to the gym more, hired a personal trainer (would highly recommend it if you can afford to and are limited for time) and spent some time eating more regularly and drinking less alcohol. Staying healthy is very important so don?t forget this part. It?s really easy to overlook and your body won?t thank you for it. If you eat well and stay fit you?ll be able to put in those long hours and recover faster. - Learn! Did I mention that already? I?m a big reader. I am always reading blogs, articles, forums and it helps me keep on top of the industry. Internet marketing in general is very dynamic so don?t expect what worked in 2012 to work today. Keep learning and this won?t be as much of an issue. - Build your network. Regardless of whether someone directly benefits your business now, keep networking. Speak to different people and you?ll be surprised what doors it can open. My business relies heavily on referrals so this is important for me. If you?re an expert, network well, you almost cannot fail. Don?t burn bridges. Even if you don?t like someone (and anyone will tell you I dislike a lot of things!) try not to burn bridges. It won?t do you any favours. - Don?t give up. I?ve been very lucky in that my business has been profitable almost from day one of starting IM full time. However, there are always bad days, so don?t give up. This really is clich, but if the first (or fifth) thing you try doesn?t work, keep trying. Find what works for you. Just to be cheesy, I?d like to thank all of my friends on BHW for helping me get to where I am today. I have made a lot of friends here (I have met a lot of you in real life) and without BHW, I would likely be stuck in a boring 9-5 job scrapping for pennies. BHW has given me freedom, cash and an endless supply of knowledge. Even if you?re new to the forum, the industry may seem very daunting, but there are still numerous opportunities. Be patient and don?t just look for that magic bullet (it doesn?t exist). Thanks for reading and keep hustling! I?ll hopefully be back in a few years with my 4000th post! If you have any questions, please let me know below. I will put some time aside to answer everyone personally assuming your question is sensible or not too personal.