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Sherb's 2019 Journey: Productive and Profitable, A Thread Full of Gold

Discussion in 'My Journey Discussions' started by Sherb, Dec 31, 2018.

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  1. AshishTheArtist

    AshishTheArtist Newbie

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    I agree :)
     
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  2. B90210

    B90210 Newbie Premium Member

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    Lol I can’t believe just hitting over 6 figures is a bad day for you.

    I can’t stand my day job, I make 6 figures at it. But I’m only home for 60 days a year, 5 days a month. I’d easily quit if I hit 100k.

    Good luck on your journey man!
     
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  3. BassTrackerBoats

    BassTrackerBoats Super Moderator Staff Member Moderator Jr. VIP

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    I remember those days and didn't hit 6 figures during that time frame annually.

    I hated it.

    Still do.
     
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  4. B90210

    B90210 Newbie Premium Member

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    Well, all the tools are here on this site for me to change that which is always a plus
     
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  5. mhtro

    mhtro Supreme Member

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    Suprised he is making all that from the websites, I know Sherb doesn't fake his shit It just makes me dissapointed of myself.
    I will be following this thread with my eyes and ears wide open for more golden nuggets.
     
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  6. ZnSO4

    ZnSO4 Registered Member

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    I think I have just read the best Thread on BHW. Really awesome to read and Clicked "Watch Thread" right away.
     
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  7. Sherb

    Sherb Jr. Executive VIP Jr. VIP

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    Thanks, appreciated, and congratulations again!

    Smush and the other WPMU Dev plugins were bogging down my sites quite a bit. Plus the cost of Imagify and WP Rocket (which performs far better than Hummingbird Pro), is less than half the annual cost of the WPMU Dev plugin bundle, of which I used barely any of.

    Thanks so much for the well wishes. I hope you consider doing a journey. The accountability alone has been incredibly helpful for me as I go.

    This is a solid question and suggestion. I've had a problem with putting too many eggs into too many baskets for quite a while now. Several of these properties I am working on building up to eventually sell. Others are smaller passion projects. Believe it or not, the projects I have going on now are cutting down from what I had towards the end of 2018. Call it risk aversion.

    The goal is for these projects to fund some things that I am actually passionate about further down the road. Things like a cancer nonprofit in my Mom's name, my Iceland site, and eventually a few properties across the country, in which to enjoy when we would like, allow family to enjoy when they like, and rent out as vacation rentals when not in use.

    This is all relatively temporary for me currently, and provides the opportunity to enhance my digital marketing skills and hopefully gain some income in the process. It started as a way to have some extra income while my wife was in medical school and I was the sole provider. Now that she is a surgical resident and making some money, it's a nice additional income that helps to pad the savings account, pay off student loans, and continue to enjoy our modest lifestyle.

    And trust me, I have nothing to prove. This is accountability and organization for me, as well as potentially getting questions answered when I have them along the way. Maybe providing the inspiration for someone else who is too scattered and doesn't know where to start. I'll figure it out as I go.

    Thanks for the input and for stopping by!

    The idea of an Up In The Air style life is kind of interesting to me, but I think it's because most of my travels have been vacation-related. Business travel would probably have me wanting to suck start a shotgun. I did a flight to Atlanta for some training a while back. Not a fan, and I had a hard time focusing because I just wanted to get out of the classroom and explore the city.

    Oh dude, I'm not making much of anything from the websites. Almost all of my side income is strictly content writing. Some of that writing income is pushed back to my writers to buy content for my web properties to grow those. The websites are starting to make a little bit, but so far this year it hasn't been any more than a couple hundred. Hoping to grow that significantly by year end!

    Thanks so much!
     
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  8. Sherb

    Sherb Jr. Executive VIP Jr. VIP

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    General Updates

    Placing 50,000 words of content orders for my local writers and one BHW writer tomorrow. This is content for the month of March, and is spread out well across the sites.

    There will be no posts for the next two weeks. This includes Q&A posts and weekly updates. When I return after those two weeks, Wednesday after next, I will have the following: A massive project update, January financial summary, answers to any questions, a “why” post on why I have the six affiliate sites I do and where they came from, and likely the February financial summary.

    I have some upcoming travel, and when not traveling, I wish to focus on wrapping up some content writing tasks and putting a massive focus on these projects and getting content out and driving traffic to the sites. I’m also handling the taxes, and have a couple thousand transactions to ensure are properly categorized.

    Expect a weight drop, as well as a hopeful solid financial report and progression on the offline "chores".

    Focuses for Next Two Weeks
    • Complete and post three articles to Iceland site. Also complete test itinerary, and complete and post Hubspot form.
    • Add more content to the B sites. Get proper templates and formatting and structure for all six affiliate sites. Ensure all Imagify and WP Rocket settings are complete and configured for all six sites.
    • Get a payment platform set up for the local photography site, and get the links properly set.
    • Perform some solid configuration and optimization on A2 travel site. Also post four articles and format a good bit of content properly.
    • Get some solid work done on the local websites. I want the breweries and the escape room sites DONE in the general sense content-wise and structure-wise by my next update in two weeks.
    • Look into some link building strategies for these sites, starting with the Iceland site and the largest Amazon affiliate site.
    A1: Iceland Travel Site

    Ordered eight articles totaling 14,000 words for March. Also have several articles to post, likely over 15,000 more words, maybe even 20,000+.
    • One of my writers sent me a very well written 1500 word post on a 8100MS location-based term. It was so well written that it skipped the line past the posts that needed revisions but had all the necessary images ready to go, and instead I found 10 relevant images and posted the formatted and semi-revised piece immediately. I added a tweet and a post to Facebook about it, and then posted to two relevant subreddits Sunday night, and two more Monday morning.
    • Tuesday and Wednesday I was unable to access the backend of my site due to server errors on my host’s end. The host is Deluxe Hosting, and I was forced into their services when LiquidWeb sold their shared hosting arm to Deluxe. I hope by the end of June to have all sites off of various hosting platforms and collected into Siteground’s GoGeek Managed Wordpress Hosting. I regained backend access Wednesday at 4:00pm.
    Growth of 30-day MAUs over 90-day span (dark blue line):

    [​IMG]

    Still experiencing growth, even with only three posts over the last two weeks. My article from last Wednesday has received over 3,000 visitors, so that’s cool. It is already high page two for the main 3,600MS term.

    A2: Other Travel Site

    Ordered four articles totaling 3,000 words for March. Have three articles in queue to post as well.

    B1: Tools/Outdoor Products Amazon Affiliate Site

    Ordered six product reviews totaling 6,500 words for March. Have one more I need to post.
    • I had two buyer’s guide type articles to put onsite this week regarding additional content. These had images for products added to it, tags and categories, added affiliate links where applicable, Yoasted everything to the best levels I could get them, and posted. Word counts for the two were 2194 (on a 390MS term) and 2380 (on a 1600MS term).
    • I had three product reviews to put onsite this week regarding additional content. These had images added to them, tags and categories for product reviews, and affiliate links where applicable. Again, Yoasted everything to the best of my abilities, and then posted. Word counts for these four reviews were 1032, 1701, and 1019. So effectively, over 8,000 words of content was added to this site this week.
    • I replaced the theme that was on the site when purchased with GeneratePress Premium. Deactivated and deleted all the old plated plugins that came with the old theme, leaving just Akismet, Yoast, WP Compear, and GP Premium. I then spent some time customizing the appearance and structure of the site, including a compelling menu with navigation for Home, Top 5 for 2019, [X] That Are… (with a dropdown to different buyer’s guides), Product Reviews, Articles, Contact and Search. I modified the home page content a bit, and removed the sidebars from the whole site. I was satisfied (for now) with how things looked compared to how they did before. More to come on completing the aesthetics of this next week.
    B2: Tools/Outdoor Products Amazon Affiliate Site

    Ordered two guides, 2,500 and 1,500 words, for various accessories for the product. Also ordered 1,500 word additions and expansions on two very well-performing articles traffic-wise. I’m hoping to crack from low page one to high page one with the additions.
    • Added three new product reviews from one of my local writers. Once formatting was done and images and links were added, they were super green on Yoast, which I like. Added the relevant category and tags, ensured the link out to Amazon was an Amzn.to link, and posted. Word counts for the three were 976, 960, and 977. Monthly searches for the three main products were lower XXXMS, but I wanted to ensure that I had full reviews for all products present in my buyer’s guides on-site.
    • Went into all buyer’s guides and ensured that the links for the text “Read full review” - either content or buttons, were pointing to the correct product review.
    B3: Tools/Outdoor Products Amazon Affiliate Site

    Ordered two articles, 1,500 and 2,000 words, for March. They are both maintenance focused, on lower searched terms, but with the real possibility to rank highly and start the push to become a thought leader in the maintenance space of this product.

    B5: Baby Products Amazon Affiliate Site

    Ordered one article of 2,000 words for March.
    • I had two articles that were just sitting out there waiting to be posted. I went ahead and posted all three, ignoring Yoast, but fixing headings and paragraph structure. No images were added yet, and no links either, I just wanted to get the content up and on site. Word counts for the two articles were 781 and 834. Remember, this is a site I had a VA push a ton of low quality content to, just to see what kinds of things ranked. It’s currently top 100 for over 100 keywords, with zero real structure to the site.
    B7: Fitness Amazon Affiliate Site

    Ordered a 2,500 word buyer’s guide for the home page and four 500-word average shorter articles for this product for March.

    C2: Local SEO Service Project

    Ordered a 1,000 and 1,500 word article for this site for March. I also have one more solid one to post as well that is sitting in my downloads folder.

    C5: Local Escape Rooms Project

    Ordered two 1,000 word articles for this site for March.

    C8: Roofing Site for SEO Purposes

    Ordered four 500-word average shorter articles for this site for March.

    Instagram Growth Progression

    Stats from 2/14 to 2/27:

    [​IMG]

    I color coded the accounts as such:
    • Yellow: I am happy with the progress being made, but would like to enhance some settings
    • Blue: Things could definitely be growing faster
    • Orange: I need to revisit the settings for F/U and engagement to see what can change
    • Green: I am perfectly fine with the progress being made
    I purchased two established growth accounts from @Raybanana to replace the two that I’m not sure about next steps on (account locked, asking for original PVA phone number, etc). These two will be branded, both associated with projects that I’d like to get off the ground in 2020 (remember I am hoping to sell off several of the current projects by year end). These accounts will be set up and loaded into FollowPlanner probably tomorrow.

    No Work Done This Week

    B4: Tools/Outdoor Products Amazon Affiliate Site
    B6: Jewelry Amazon Affiliate Site
    C1: Local Photography Project
    C3: Local Direct Mail Project
    C4: Local Breweries Project
    C6: Local Food Trucks Project
    C7: Local Street Area Project
    NSFW Website Projects

    Non-Web Projects

    Progress on four large projects mentioned in original post:
    1. Revamp of backyard: Dug a 1-foot wide, 2-foot deep, 75 foot long trench in the side yard, and utilized culvert pipe and corrugated dissipation pipe to divert the two downspouts on that side (the deadest grass) underground and down to the front yard, where it will dissipate into the ground. Also replaced the red and rotting mulch on the driveway side with the red rubber mulch. 14 lawn and leaf bags worth on Sunday.
    2. Replace all carpet with hardwood: Nothing done this week, but need to make a focus. The new puppy is trying to rip the cheap carpet up himself.
    3. Revamp the guest room into a gym/guest room combo: Nothing done this week.
    4. Fencing: Nothing done this week.
    Financial Notes for the Week
    • Almost done with the formatting of the financial summary for January. For real this time.
    • Was informed that I would be receiving a solid bonus this year, as well as raises coming within the next couple of months. I didn’t think I was eligible for a raise since I received a 15% pay increase in December, but apparently I am. So that’s great news.
    • Big three investment accounts (Fidelity (VINIX), Vanguard (VTSAX), Robinhood (AAPL, AMZN, V, AMT, MSFT, BRK.B) are up $8,405.91 YTD and $2.955.62 for February MTD. As always, I’m not naive, I know that is not sustainable.
    Daily balance chart of big three investment accounts:

    [​IMG]

    Health Notes for the Week

    Weight has stagnated a bit. Hovering in the same two-pound range for a few weeks now. I’ve taken up running properly now, and have done four 3-mile jogs in the past week. I plan to continue that, and really hop back on the keto and intermittent fasting train. I’ve been yo-yoing, and getting ahold of that again will assist greatly in the weight loss goals.

    Average weight YTD: 223.51lbs (-0.18lbs from last week)
    Average step count YTD: 14,863 (+39 from last week)

    [​IMG]

    That’s it. If you need me in the next two weeks, PM me. I’ll keep an eye on my inbox. Thanks for reading.
     
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  9. Sherb

    Sherb Jr. Executive VIP Jr. VIP

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    Shoutout to everyone who said I was spreading myself too thin. Over the past two weeks I've gotten plenty done on quite a few of my projects. But most importantly, I set some solid goals for each of the projects, with an "end goal" in mind for most of them. I'm going to postpone my project update out one more week, and instead use this post to note my goal for each of these (web, not offline) projects.

    TRAVEL SITES
    • A1: Iceland Travel Site: Definitely keeping this one. Launch Hubspot form for custom itineraries by Q1 end. Get site fully optimized by Q2 end. Reach 500 daily visitors without promotions by Q3 end. Hit $100 per day on this site alone by Q4 end. Link building starting in Q3.
    • A2: Other Travel Site: Meat of site set up by end of Q2 (~25,000 words worth that I will need to write). Reach 250 daily visitors without promotions by Q3 end. Hit $20 per day on this site alone by Q4 end. Link building starting in Q3.
    • A3: Vegas Travel Site: I forgot I even had this site. It's based on Las Vegas hotels. Will pack it with some content and statistics, keep it fast loading, minimal, and mobile optimized, and focus on one affiliate network. Goal to have this site completely set and on autopilot with occasional updates by end of Q3. No blog or anything, just longform hotel reviews. Set and forget, and push occasional high quality links to.
    CURRENT AMAZON AFFILIATE SITES
    • B1: Tools/Outdoor Products Amazon Affiliate Site: Keeping this site, focused on a subset of products. Planning on consistent growth of content for this one. No plans to slow down or get rid of.
    • B2: Tools/Outdoor Products Amazon Affiliate Site: Keeping this site, focused on a subset of products. Planning on consistent growth of content for this one. No plans to slow down or get rid of.
    • B3: Tools/Outdoor Products Amazon Affiliate Site: Will get this site up to 50k+ words by Q3 end, properly formatted, and on its own hosting plan with social media and a fully packed blog. Once this is set, I plan on selling this here on BHW. Goal is to sell in Q4 for $2,500+.
    • B4: Tools/Outdoor Products Amazon Affiliate Site: Keeping this site, focused on a broader niche, with connections to B1 and B2. Planning on consistent growth of content for this one. No plans to slow down or get rid of.
    • B5: Baby Products Amazon Affiliate Site: Will get this site up to 50k+ words by Q3 end, properly formatted, and on its own hosting plan with social media and a fully packed blog. Once this is set, I plan on selling this here on BHW. Goal is to sell in Q4 for $2,500+.
    • B6: Jewelry Amazon Affiliate Site: Will get this site up to 50k+ words by Q3 end, properly formatted, and on its own hosting plan with social media and a fully packed blog. Once this is set, I plan on selling this here on BHW. Goal is to sell in Q4 for $2,500+.
    • B7: Fitness Amazon Affiliate Site: Will get this site up to 50k+ words by Q3 end, properly formatted, and on its own hosting plan with social media and a fully packed blog. Once this is set, I plan on selling this here on BHW. Goal is to sell in Q4 for $2,500+.
    LOCAL PROJECTS
    • C1: Local Photography Project: Will have the photo gallery at 25 photos by the end of April, and the payment platform set by end of May. At this point, I should be at ~32k followers on the relevant Instagram. Will have Facebook page set up in tandem by Q2 end. Would love to see $500 per month in purchases by Q4 end.
    • C2: Local SEO Service Project: Want to have this site set and good to go by Q2 end. Will then only update the blog once every 2-4 weeks with case studies and longform posts focused on the local market. On Q3 start, will use 7878 method for high-quality offline outreach to potential customers, and will also have an action plan on the backend (here's what I will do) and on the frontend (here is what I will do for you). I've been able to leverage my digital marketing knowledge into a salaried full-time role, shouldn't be too difficult to convince others to use my services as well.
    • C3: Local Direct Mail Project: Also want to have this site set and good to go by Q3 end. Will then only update the blog once every 2-4 weeks with case studies and longform posts focused on the local market. Pricing is set, routes are set, and my web property manager made me a solid list of prospects last year in the immediate area. I will compare that list to those who are still advertising, and begin 7878-style outreach here as well at Q3 start. One blast should bring in profits of ~$5,000. Would like to do one per quarter.
    • C4: Local Breweries Project: I want to have this complete content-wise by Q2 end. At which point I will do minimal updates, and let it "marinade" for the rest of the year, picking up backlinks where possible and keeping an eye on traffic. Placement at end of year will determine if I shop the whole site to breweries, or sell ad space.
    • C5: Local Escape Rooms Project: I want to have this complete content-wise by Q2 end. At which point I will do minimal updates, and let it "marinade" for the rest of the year, picking up backlinks where possible and keeping an eye on traffic. Placement at end of year will determine if I shop the whole site to non-chain escape rooms, or sell ad space.
    • C6: Local Food Trucks Project: Putting this on hold until 2020. If I'm able to make strong headway on other local projects per above, I'll pick this up next year. If not, I'll let it expire and move on. Profit potential without extensive time put in is minimal.
    • C7: Local Street Area Project: Putting this on hold until 2020. If I'm able to make strong headway on other local projects per above, I'll pick this up next year. If not, I'll let it expire and move on. Profit potential without extensive time put in is minimal.
    • C8: Roofing Site for SEO Purposes: I want to have this complete content-wise by Q2 end, and hopefully ranking highly. I'm already getting requests weekly from HomeAdvisor and Facebook and such. When this site is set and ranking well, I will 7878-style reach out to local roofers to show them what's up. Goal is either to sell off the whole thing, or get a roofer on a $2,500+/month project to rebrand and manage their online presence.
    OTHER PROJECTS
    • NSFW Website Projects: Putting these all on indefinite hold. Still working out selling one of them off for $1,500 (deindexed website, Twitter accunt with 40k+ followers, a few other web 2.0 profiles and links) to the model. The rest, leaving them be. The time spent is not worth the potential return compared to if that time was spent on other projects above.
    • S1: Older Affiliate Site (BHW): Will get this site back up and running, and up to 50k+ words by Q3 end, properly formatted, and on its own hosting plan with social media and a fully packed blog. Once this is set, I plan on selling this here on BHW. Goal is to sell in Q4 for $2,500+. This is the site that I did a long journey on ranking and trying to profit from just BHW services back in 2015. This was abandoned, but still remains in its 3+ year old form.
    • S2: 5x Repurposed AdSense to Amazon Affiliate Sites: Will get each of these sites up to 10k words (they are most of the way there), and repurposed for Amazon affiliate progress instead of AdSense earning potential. Once these are set, I will sell each of them off here on BHW for probably $250 each as micro sites. Will not be doing this myself, but will develop a strategy, and have a VA take care of all five for formatting, setup and organization.
    • S3: Marijuana Dispensary Directories: Putting this on hold until 2020. If things work out well for other projects and time allows, I'll focus some energy on this next year. If not, I will sell off the domains here on BHW and call it a day on these projects.
    • S4: Midsized City Law Site: Going to have a VA dump 50-100 law-related expired articles from a former ORM client website up here once every two days for several months to see if it starts ranking for a few things. I won't put any work into the site on my own outside sending over the posts and instructions. I'll check and see how this is doing at the start of 2020. If good, I'll approach law firms in this city (not my current city), and try and sell the site off to one of them.
    I am cutting down the content orders I accept. I've got a few steady recurring clients. Focusing on that and 10k+ word special projects for the time being. $1,000 per month is my goal point for content, enough to take care of content purchases from my local area writers and a few BHW staples. Sales from website sell-offs will be pumped into the other projects. I'm not looking to sock money away, but instead to build up some web assets and local businesses with relatively hands-off approaches.

    IN SUMMARY
    • Permanent portfolio sites: A1, A2, B1, B2, B4, C1, C2, C3
    • Build and hold: A3, C4, C5, S4
    • Build and sell: B3, B5, B6, B7, C8(?), S1, S2
    • On hold: C6, C7, S3
    I have a few reviews of services to post in the coming couple days. Other than that, see you all next week. Feel free to ask questions and address concerns here on the thread, and I will respond to each one next week as well. Sherb out.
     
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  10. jatis

    jatis Newbie

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    Glad i found this thread. definitely following.
     
  11. Sherb

    Sherb Jr. Executive VIP Jr. VIP

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    I think we all knew this was coming.

    I am making the difficult decision to shut down this journey thread and take things a different route. After some extensive thinking and rationalizing, as well as consulting with many members here and elsewhere in the IM field, I came to this conclusion for a number of reasons.

    OVERDIVERSIFICATION

    Big word. Simply put, as I alluded above, too many eggs, too many baskets. Those who have followed my posts for the past 3.5 years I've been active here know that this is one of my largest project-related downfalls. In a nutshell, I have probably 20 hours a week to work on these projects essentially. That's assuming 45 hours of work at my day job (which I love), and 15 hours a week to focus on writing content for clients. So in those 20 hours a week, I'm trying to juggle progression on a good 20 projects. That is a recipe for disaster or complete lack of focus. Both of which I have experienced.

    LACK OF PASSION

    Last week I mentioned "oh, I want to cut my affiliate sites down to this many and go from there". This past week I realized that I don't care about any of the products that these affiliate sites are based off of. Heck, I've got a few product sites based on products that I've never used before. So I'm going to build these sites to the point where I am satisfied with the result, and then get rid of them. All of them (the affiliate sites).

    LACK OF TIME

    If I have 20 hours a week tops to work on these projects, I want that time to be spent on things I actually enjoy doing. This is essentially my free time I'm using. I enjoy writing content for other people and seeing as the work I do makes them money. I also enjoy the networking and interaction that comes with writing content for those willing to pay my prices. I enjoy my local projects, and I enjoy the Iceland travel site.

    NOT CONSIDERING EXTENDED TIMELINES

    I've asked myself, in three years, what will I still care about? There were three things. More on that shortly. Everything else, on a long enough timeline the goal is to get rid of them and hopefully end up in the green as a result. I have quite a few projects that don't have a real end goal of profitability for something that is sustainable (for example, the roofing website. Literally building a web property and trying to rank for a difficult local term before even reaching out to someone to buy) I need to focus on the long-term and target the short-term to reach those goals.

    UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS

    Why did I ever think I would be able to provide weekly multi-thousand word breakdowns? I spend too much time writing things that you don't care about, that I don't really care about, just to ensure I meet some weekly expectation that I set for myself with zero precedence at all. How stupid. I'm not doing that. All that is doing is providing even more free content for BHW and adding to my workload. Barely anyone is reading these updates anyway, and surely those who are have trouble following the course of a single project. It got to the point where I would try to screw around with a site for 10 minutes just so I didn't have to tell you that I did nothing on it. There's accountability, and there is stupidity. I was falling into the latter.

    I DON'T CARE

    This goes back to the lack of passion. If the project doesn't spark joy, why even bother? I make plenty of money anyway. I've been in the green overall every month for over three years. I don't need to rationalize and break down my finances in a transparent yet still private way for you. To summarize, I have been writing extensive summaries I don't care about, on sites I don't really care about, for people who don't really care about the progress of single sites to ingest. Nah.

    SO WHERE FROM HERE?

    As I said, I'm having the thread closed. I am going to make three smaller, more focused sub-journeys based on things I actually have a passion for, see a potential long term benefit from, and think that they are innovative enough to warrant journeys:
    • An offline journey using IM money (including my day job, which is IM) to increase the value of our property to over $500,000 in the next three years
    • Continued expansion, integration and innovation to the Iceland travel site
    • A direct mail business that I've been toying with for over five years. It's finally time to act, and I can see this becoming a massive hit in my area
    I don't want to do local SEO in my area any more. Too unpredictable. I don't want to sell framed prints for my photography thing, I just want to take pictures. I don't want to run a PBN, or manage the brand for a roofer, or build IG accounts to flip and sell. Those three things above? That's what I want to do.

    So everything else, forget about. I'm working on the backend to get them off my plate entirely by the end of the year (sold or abandoned, and if sold built up for a profitable sale). Look forward to three smaller, far more focused journeys, each tackling something I am and have been passionate about.

    Thank you for following along on Sherb's unraveling. I hope to see you in the next steps of my life.
     
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  12. MisterF

    MisterF Moderator Staff Member Moderator Jr. VIP

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    Thread closed at the request of @Sherb
     
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