So this is a little thank you to everyone here on the boards and everyone who has helped me over the last 2 years. It's been a tumultous time and I've had some up's and down's, but I've landed on my feet thanks to some good advice here and a few other forums I frequent. Thank you's aside, I also wanted to share my success and a few words of wisdom I've learned over the course of my IM experiment. I call it an experiment because it's still underway. So first, my successes and failures. I started out with two different niche sites. I did research into the keywords, hand-wrote or re-wrote articles, bought long tail keyword domain names and set to work. One started small... I started making $10-$20 a day. Still, that was thrilling to be making money while I was sleeping or working other jobs. The second one really never took off. I think of it like building a fire on a camping trip. You might setup two kindling piles and try to light them. One might slowly start up and start a fire while the other one just smolders and throws off smoke no matter what you do to it. Still, I had invested alot of time into it so I didn't give it up. If anything, that was one of my first mistakes. A piece of advice I've since read and have proven to be true... don't get too attached to ANYTHING. That's so true. If something doesn't work out, move on. I eventually concentrated all fire power on the main star destroyer... er... I mean, concentrated all of my efforts on the site that was working. I was using the techniques of the time - creating lots of backlinks using various tools like SENuke, etc. I even had two SENuke VPSs at one time running. Thinks were going good. I started making around $100 a day - give or take. Now, I was affiliate programs for my niche. In fact, I was using 4 different ones. And here's what I've learned about affiliate programs - the best ones are the ones that give you a commission on whatever the customer buys, not just a once and done one time finder's fee type commission. Now don't get me wrong, the one time fee affiliate programs are nice if you don't think you will have repeat business but I've made MANY times as much on the commission programs as the one time programs. That said, things were going pretty well. Then... DISASTER. Google hit me with the WAFFLE BAT of death. I got the manual spam action. Again, some good advice on the forums lead me to do what ultimately ended up being the right thing for me - buy a new domain, move the entire site to the new domain and 301 the old domain to the new one. I had to start from stratch building links and since I had some money, I decided to use some of the blackhat services offered here and elsewhere to rank me up. And did it! Ranked me right back up to the top within a month! I started actually doing BETTER that I was before... $2K-3K a month. I was like...WOW! This is great. Then, about 6 months later... DISASTER... AGAIN. Another manual spam action... this time, it was most likely from having links from the SAPE networks. So, again, I buy a new domain, move the site and startup the blackhat SEO. I hit the top again and now I've making EVEN MORE... now I'm making $10K a month between all of my different affiliate programs. The true turning point was when I grossed more from my IM business than I made from my regular job. And, I've been going steady for the last couple of months, doing even better. So far this month, I made about $700 from adsense, $2500 from one affiliate program, $11000 from another, $400 from another and about $18,000 from my main affiliate program. Yes... that's over $20K a month off my IM business. It's still hard for me to wrap my head around it. Needless to say, Christmas is going to be good for my whole family and all my nieces and nephews (I have 15). And you guys helped make it possible. Thank you! As far as words of wisdom, here's what I learned: 1) Don't get attached to anything. As I mentioned before, don't get attached to things if they aren't working. It's hard to walk away from something you're passionate about, but you have to find and focus on what works. 2) Don't trust anyone on the forums - including me Don't trust anyone blindly. There's alot people with alot of good advice, but there's also alot of wannabe's and scammers who give you bad, misleading or downright bad advice. Always test and verify before committing. Didn't Ronald Reagan say that? Trust but verify. 3) Most WSO's won't work for you If they are legitimate at all - and many aren't - most WSO's worked for THAT person in THAT instance. It reminds me of my days in martial arts. Everyone thought their style was the best. Jujitsu nuts said grapple FTW... but grappling sucks against mulitple attackers. Tae Kwon Do nuts said kicking was where it was at... but when you're short like me and have limited range, it doesn't always work. Karate nuts said the combination of hand and foot techniques were the best. And each Sensei or Sifu was great at what they did. But what worked for me? A little bit of everything and a lot of aikijujitsu. But the point is, sometimes a thing works for a certain niche or a certain style - that doesn't mean it will work for you. Let's face it - a GOOD copywriter can sell you dog poop and you will be THANKING him for the opportunity to scrap it off the ground. 4) The lastest tricks usually don't work How many WSO's with the latest tricks have we seen? How many worked as advertised? Yah... no many. Don't be suckered into the hype. If you TRULY see a legitimate need for it, then get it. 5) Hosting I've gone through ALOT of hosting companies. And here's what I've found. For supporting sites or blog networks, you can use cheap hosting. For your money site, stick with a fast, reliable host or you WILL regret it. I moved my money site 3 times in the last 3 months. We'll see how the new host is or I will move it again. 6) BACKUP Seriously... we're computer guys and girls. There is no reason you shouldn't have a backup of EVERYTHING on ALL of your sites. Hosting companies come, go and fail. Make sure you have things setup so you can re-do a site in under 24 hours. Time is money. 7) Give back I know there are certain tips and tricks we all keep for ourselves, but whenever possible try to give back. I know I need to follow my own advice a little more, but thankfully there are many people here willing to share and if you give back, that tradition will continue and we will all benefit. 8) Nest Egg Another thing I learned was to always keep a nest egg. SEO rules change from time to time - and sometimes radically and you can go from #1 to #1000 in an eye blink with Google. When you have to pick up the pieces and rebuild from time to time, make sure you have money set aside to do just that. This will lessen your downtime and get you back to making money. 9) Outsource... But Not Too Much In the beginning, you might be able to do everything yourself. But as you grow, you can start outsourcing things like articles, etc. This can be a HUGE time saver. I personally use Fiverr and Hirewriters to get articles written or re-written. But don't go overboard. Remember, the people you are outsourcing to won't have your skills or knowledge. So keep a hand in what you do - or outsource to someone who is equally skilled. Otherwise, your outsourcers could be undo'ing all of the hard work you put into things. Those are my basic words of "wisdom". Use them and abuse them and feel free to ask me any questions. Cheers!