I've decided to keep this journal for a couple of reasons - Firstly, to keep me myself on track with my project. Secondly, because somedays I feel bi-polar and can get really motivated and then crash like a drug addict after a high. Thirdly, to be inspired by any great tips from fellow members. Fourthly, I hope that others will gain some tips and insights from this journey's ups and down themselves. Background I've been involved in online marketing for 15 years. I've made good money and lost good money, and sometimes it's been hell, and other times I wouldn't have a clue what else I'd do with my time. I find my work intensely satisfying to the extent it keeps me awake at night with excitement, and similarly, so stressful, it keeps me awake with worry. From my early twenties, back when the internet was raw and in an infancy, I was straight in with an adult dating community, way before the dawn of Facebook or other social networking sites, and link farms, and reciprocal link exchanges, and Wordpress were all cutting edge ideas. Very quickly I learnt first hand the skills needed to build a thriving social community in the early days of the internet, in the adult dating and adult niche sectors and monetized that phenomenally. That was when life was real good, and work consisted of checking the bank balance in the mornings over a coffee from my bedroom, and how many cheques had been sent from affiliate companies registered in places like Seychelles and Cyprus. Around 8 years ago, I was side tracked and moved into the sports nutrition niche, as having a personal background in training and nutrition I jumped at the chance to move forward with a JV with an offline businessman who was older than myself, and far less naive. I quickly learnt the ropes in e-commerce, building a ground up custom e-com site since few off the shelf solid packages existed that were easily manipulated for what I wanted, and at the time I felt I had better control over the SEO ranking factors of yesteryear doing a custom job. That side was all dandy. The work involved meant I had to turn my focus away from the adult niche. MISTAKE NUMBER 1: I didn't value the asset I had, and instead of selling or flipping the adult business, I switched it off. I look back and cringe everyday of my life on that one, as it was making some decent money. MISTAKE NUMBER 2: I got into 'partnership' with someone in business without covering my ass legally and protecting my own interests. As you can imagine, my hard work was not rewarded as verbally agreed financially, and 4 years of hard graft was wasted. He ended up with a thriving e-commerce sports nutrition site, I ended up on my arse with nothing. I'm not sure if my next move was a mistake or genuine fortune, or fate. I used anger and resentment to make my next business movements - I set up in competition with the chap who had more more, had bricks and mortar stores, had been in business for many more years, and whom I had spent 4 years building his offline and online business to be a relatively very large concern in the industry. I'm not sure if I was mental, or bitter, or it was a stroke of genius. I did it with no money. And I used every black hat marketing trick I had up my sleeve, as well as pulling in unique, designer products from the USA into the UK, nobody else had. So combining offline tactics and dirty online tactics - I wound up with a business turning over 1.5 million inside 12 months, and I did it from my bedroom (or rather home office) and used a fulfilment centre to handle the shipping (I wish Amazon was what it is now in the UK back then...) In this 12 months, I felt I was on a winner again, with SENuke and Scrapebox in my arsenal, some perfectly placed spin, and making the most of social platforms as they were 4 years ago to their full advantage. They were easily manipulated back then. And boy did I learn a lot about IM through this period. I was sued. My previous partner took it bad and went for the full litigation (data theft etc). Won that. I bought out a rival who was in the industry trying to get out, swalllowed up his business, his website and his marketing list and his stock real cheap. And I used that to further inflate my business. Online was great. I was dominating keywords, I was dominating Google shopping, and we were doing great socially. MISTAKE NUMBER 3: The human factor (again!) - having not learnt my lessons originally, I had trusted somebody else with my business, this time the fulfilment company handling the shipping. After 12 months, it turned out the work had become so sloppy, there was little to no visibility on stock tracking, and over 50 000 worth of stock had 'disappeared' along with a massive negative dent in customer relationships. Chargebacks went WILD. To the point I almost lost our PGP. I felt at this time, it was time to sell the business and move on. Especially with the government increasing taxes, raw materials on product increasing, Google getting tighter and harder to game, so were the social platforms. And I was getting sued again, this time by the fulfilment company (who I had acted a little hot headed and pulled all my stock and broke my 8 week termination contract with them). By a turn of fate (or social engineering) I actually SOLD the business, the stock, the goodwill and the list to my original business partner, in a rather "If you can't beat them, join them" odd turn of events - which makes me always value my competitors in the market place. By this point, I was back in a positive financial state, but psychologically felt a little broken. I was no longer a business owner. I'd spent the past 4 years being battered with litigation, and striving to come out on top to say F**K you to someone I felt had done me wrong. Not very mature, and last year was a clear highlight on that. So I spent a bit of time being a bit lost, then decided I'd hit the nail on the head. Of course, my passion and background was in IM. Hell, I'm a digital marketer, that would be my new business. So I went head strong into forming a web development, design and marketing company (which was and is going great). I have all the contacts, and leads, and partners built up over the years. Everything is dandy. BUT, I felt somewhat unfulfilled, without the fire burning fight... This makes me conclude I'm somewhat mentally unstable, and probably what attracts me to BHW in the first place lol... Having some money clawed back in the bank and business going great almost on auto pilot, I put the nail on the head, that what is leaving me somewhat out of place and unfulfilled being a service provider is this: Building websites for other people who have NO idea about websites or marketing and having to do their bidding, sometimes being spoken to like crap. Some of them have great ideas, but want something doing that is horrendous. So I started turning business away, as I'd do their projects completely differently. This screamed alarm bells for me, that I need to let my service company run with others in control, while I get back to the driving seat to cause a real sh*t storm in the market place. Why? Because that's what I obviously love to do. In that, I mean, I like to hit the market RUNNING and I genuinely want to get noticed in the market. I also want to make a lot of money if I'm brutally honest, and the only way to do that, is to be the best, to be different, and to create something with such magnetic attraction customers come to you again and again like a cult leader handing out crack...clearly I'm not entirely money focussed, as if I sat tight not only have I recovered all the debt from the litigation and legal costs, I'd created a great little fun service providing business that if I pushed it like crazy would create some good jobs, build some steady and residual easy income, and create a lot of free time to do other stuff...Clearly I need something to keep me awake at night... So I looked into the adult niche again and all these years later, I'm feeling a little rusty with the whole retail and import/export e commerce game, I may die in that ferocious waters, though never say never. No, I've done something even more crazy... I've bought a globally trading sports nutrition brand, that has been trading for 4 years (used to be a supplier) and the business is entirely wholesale. Built a custom build e-commerce site. And it's time to test the skills out turning the wholly offline business selling through distribution channels into bricks and mortar and third party retailers (offline and online) - into a killer direct to consumer ecommerce platform. I think I'm going to get dirty with the SEO and social marketing for a start and every trick in the IM book for generating a wholly bloated list and generally seeing where this can go. The world is my oyster...let me see if it swallows me up in bankruptcy, or if I get to eat the Oyster and wash it down with some well deserved bubbly.... First things first I need to get me a plan together - do I handle EVERYTHING myself, or do I OUTSOURCE some of the services needed...might sleep on that, and see how I feel tomorrow as I wonder to myself, can I really fly by the seats of my pants to make a globally recognised brand ultra successful???